FOX Accepts Higher Cash Bid From Disney - Dealing A Blow To Comcast
21 June, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
In offering to take on $13.8 billion in Fox debt, Disney's revised proposal effectively adds up to an $85.1 billion transaction.
The move comes a week after Comcast, the US cable giant, offered $65bn in cash for the assets, which include 20th Century Fox - the Hollywood film studio behind hits such as Avatar, X-Men and Ice Age - US cable TV networks including FX and National Geographic and global pay television assets including Star TV in India. The new offer comes just a week after Comcast's $65 billion bid. Disney's move had been expected ever since Comcast's bid, which was higher than Disney's original offer in December of $52.5 billion in stock.
Following the deal, Fox shareholders would own about 19% of the combined company, Disney's chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said on a conference call.
Fox appears to be reluctant to strike a deal with Comcast because of concerns about getting regulatory approval from the federal government. They are doing exactly that by pursuing the purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Under the amended acquisition agreement announced today, Disney would buy Fox for $71.3 billion in cash and stock.
Iger had this to say on why Disney has such a big bid ($71.3 billion) for the company's assets. In a call with analysts, Iger said he believes Disney's bid is superior to Comcast's from a regulatory perspective, and said that six months of dealing with regulators both in the USA and internationally has given Disney a "meaningful head start".
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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. Last week's consummation of the long-simmering AT&T-Time Warner merger has all but given the green light to titans like Disney and Comcast looking to build their respective empires by snapping up smaller entities.
The New York Times reported last week that Comcast was determined to buy Fox's film and TV assets after a deal to absorb Disney fell through in 2004, which sources told the newspaper Comcast views as a mistake.
Shares of Fox jumped $2.88, or 6.5 percent, to $47.16 in early trading, which may suggest investors are expecting Comcast to return with an upped bid.
Comcast is yet to comment on the new deal. In 2017, Disney's Buena Vista held a dominant 21.8% of the movie market share, while 20th Century Fox held 12%.
The Fox sale would not include major assets such as the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox Broadcasting Company.
If Disney doesn't want to reach above $80 billion, one option may be to look for detente with Comcast by splitting up Fox's assets. But it comes with one key change created to stave off Comcast's all-cash offer: a provision that allows Fox shareholders to decide whether to accept their payment in cash or stock.
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