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Disney Just Upped Its Bid For 21st Century Fox Deal

20 June 2018

Disney has also moved from its original tactic of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men to the Deadpool studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares.

Disney is making a $71 billion counter bid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company.

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Should the Fox board - which will be convening this week to discuss the Comcast bid - consider the global telecommunications conglomerate tender superior to the agreement with Disney, the Mouse House will have five days to match the offer.

"We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders", Murdoch said.

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Fox said that in light of the new offer tabled by Disney it has concluded that Comcast's bid can not be considered to result in a better deal for shareholders. Comcast still has an opportunity to return with an even higher bid. That outcome is expected to spur a wave of media consolidation, emboldening companies to get more aggressive with deals.

Disney could sweeten its all-stock bid with cash, given its strong balance sheet and the potential boost to earnings per share, according to Reuters. Part of the business will be used to create an entity called "New Fox", which will include the highly lucrative Fox News, the sports channels FS1 and FS2, and the Fox broadcasting channel.

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Shares of 21st Century Fox were up 6% on the news, while Disney's were up 2.2%. Even though a federal judge resoundingly defeated the government's lawsuit seeking to block the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the Disney CEO said he still believes a more vertical blend of Comcast (whose holdings include the No. 1 US cable system) and Fox would face scrutiny. The bidding war comes after AT&T bought Time Warner for $81 billion, after a federal judge rejected the government's antitrust concerns. Both companies see a Fox acquisition as potentially transformative, adding to their arsenal of hit movies and shows at a time when digital rivals such as Netflix and Amazon are changing the way that consumers watch and pay for content.

Disney Just Upped Its Bid For 21st Century Fox Deal