Disney Ups Its Bid for Fox to a Whopping $71.3 Billion

Disney and 21st Century Fox agreed to a deal Wednesday morning that values 21st Century Fox at $71.3 billion, or $38 a share. It's also roughly $6 billion more than the bid made by rival Comcast last week, which tallied in at around $65 billion (Comcast is the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns SYFY WIRE).

If you're interested how this shakes out beyond the Marvel implications, this also means that Disney will the distribution rights to the original 1977 Star Wars film for Lucasfilm, as well as the rights to franchises like Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Die Hard, Kingsman, Ice Age and Night at the Museum, among others.

The deal is reportedly close to receiving regulatory approval. "It goes beyond just pushing the envelope for Comcast to use this bid to try to extend its reach yet further", said Gene Kimmelman, a former antitrust attorney for the Justice Department.

Disney's latest move raises the hurdle for Comcast, which now has to decide whether it is feasible to come back with a higher bid.

Disney is making a $70.3 billion counterbid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company. It can't really be said that Comcast would have really done anything good with them, so we will just have to wait and see how this pans out - as Comcast could still make a higher offer. Last week, a judge signed off on AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

Fox management was meeting today to evaluate the Comcast offer, which Comcast claims was superior to Disney's offer, although the value of Disney's all-stock offer had increased since December because the value of Disney stock has risen since then.


Bloomberg is now reporting the Walt Disney Company's potential purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets is about to pass antitrust approval from US regulators, according to sources who know about the matter.

The deal would include Fox film and TV studios, some cable networks and global assets, but not Fox News Channel or the Fox television network.

Comcast is yet to comment on the new deal.

In midday trading, shares of Fox rallied almost 7 percent to $47.21. But the NY company also said it is still weighing both offers, and noted that Disney's new bid doesn't have any provisions in it that prevents Fox from considering other offers. 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.

The bidding war between Disney and Comcast over 21st Century Fox assets could have some juice left in it, according to Jefferies analyst John Janedis.


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