Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty-First Century Fox

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty-First Century Fox

Shares of 21st Century Fox were up 6% on the news, while Disney's were up 2.2%. In December, Disney had offered $52.4 billion in stock.

Comcast had no immediate comment.

The X-Men may be headed to Disney after all. Both Disney and Comcast are looking to use the Fox assets to bolster their content and expand overseas.

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.

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"I think Comcast would be the most leveraged company ever". "Further hampering Comcast's ability to respond is its position that it does not want to use its stock in a deal at these low levels". The bidding war comes after AT&T bought Time Warner for $81 billion, after a federal judge rejected the government's antitrust concerns. That outcome is expected to spur a wave of media consolidation, emboldening companies to get more aggressive with deals. The two firms are also vying for ownership of Sky in the UK.

An important part of the Fox assets getting attention are the company's global assets such as Star India. That operation will be run by Lachlan Murdoch and focus on domestic television, news and sports.

"The ball is now in Comcast's court", wrote New Street research analysts in a report. However, if you were hoping to see a decision made soon, you won't, as a shareholder meeting to decide the matter has been pushed back to July 10...at least that's what CNN Money says. The acquisition price implies a total equity value of approximately $71.3 billion and a total transaction value of approximately $85.1 billion (assuming no tax adjustment).

Meanwhile, there's a separate - yet intertwined - fight for Sky, the British pay-TV company.

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If you're anxious about not being able to see the X-Men team up with the Avengers, an analyst from B. Riley recently discussed the probability of Disney obtaining the rights to the Marvel characters even if Comcast winds up purchasing 21st Century Fox.

In any case, Comcast isn't likely to go away quietly.

Just a few minutes before Iger and other Disney brass got on the phone this morning, they announced a new bid for Fox that is almost 10% above the one submitted last week by Comcast.

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