x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Fox takes up $71bn offer from Disney for entertainment assets

At stake is a trove of media properties, ranging from The Simpsons to X-Men, that may help fend off the threat from Netflix and others

The 21st Century Fox logo in midtown Manhattan in New York. Lucas Jackson/The company has accepted an improved offer from Disney that deals a blow to Comcast's hopes. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
The 21st Century Fox logo in midtown Manhattan in New York. Lucas Jackson/The company has accepted an improved offer from Disney that deals a blow to Comcast's hopes. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

21st Century Fox accepted a sweetened, approximately $71 billion bid from Walt Disney for its entertainment assets, dealing a blow to Comcast’s efforts to acquire the business.

The $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than what Disney offered in December - and $3 above Comcast’s bid from last week. The new agreement also offers more flexibility and other enhancements than the Comcast offer, Fox said on Wednesday.

At stake is a trove of media properties, ranging from The Simpsons to X-Men, that may help fend off the threat from Netflix and other streaming upstarts. Both Disney and Comcast are looking to use the Fox assets to bolster their content and expand overseas.

_______________

Read more:

Pressure on Disney as Comcast bids $65bn for Fox assets

UK clears way for bidding war over broadcaster Sky

_______________

The tussle follows AT&T’s victory over the US Justice Department in its antitrust battle to take over Time Warner. That outcome is expected to spur a wave of media consolidation, emboldening companies to get more aggressive with deals.

The Disney-Comcast contest will determine who controls much of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, including Fox’s movie and TV studios, television networks such as FX, and multi-channel providers like Star India and Sky.

The new offer gives Fox shareholders the option to take their payment in the form of cash or stock, up to a 50-50 level. The previous agreement was an all-stock deal, and Comcast’s cash offer was seen as a significant enticement.

Disney also plans to take on about $13.8bn of Fox’s net debt. That would lift the total transaction value above about $85bn.