Disney just raised the stakes in the fight for 21st Century Fox. Media company 21st Century Fox accepted a sweetened, US$71.3 billion bid from Walt Disney for its entertainment assets, outbidding Comcast in a battle for one of the media industry’s biggest prizes.
The US$38-a-share price is about US$10 per share higher than what Disney offered in December – and US$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.
This offer surpasses Comcast’s previous offer of $65 billion for Fox, with Fox accepting the offer pending a further bid from Comcast. The deal, if it goes through, would represent a fundamental shift in the landscape of the movie houses and would see 20th Century Fox and its rich portfolio of IPs come under the control of Disney. The deal was initially thought to be closed, with the sale initially expected to be done by Christmas of last year, however, Comcast’s bids have pushed the bidding war on another few months.
At stake is such Fox assets as FX Networks, National Geographic, a 30-percent stake in Hulu, a 31.9-percent stake in U.K. pay-TV and broadband provider Sky, and the 20th Century Fox film and television production studios, which include the movie rights for the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, among other properties.
The board of Fox, including the Murdoch family, are currently meeting in New York to consider Disney’s latest bid and while there doesn’t yet appear to be any time limit on when the deal will close.