Disney tops Comcast with $71.3 billion deal for Fox

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty First Century Fox

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty First Century Fox

Disney is upping the ante for Fox, making a $70.3 billion counterbid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company.

Fox's board met Wednesday and was understood to be weighing the price tags of bids for the Fox assets that are for sale along with tax bills, which are higher for cash bids, regulatory concerns and other issues.

After the Time Warner AT&T decision came down Comcast wasted no time in entering the ring against Disney in search of winning Fox's assets, but Disney just entered a new bid, topping Comcast's' previous offer and then some.

"The acquisition of 21st Century Fox will bring significant financial value to the shareholders of both companies, and after six months of integration planning we're even more enthusiastic and confident in the strategic fit of the assets and the talent at Fox".

Disney will also take on about $13.8 billion of Fox's net debt, implying a total transaction value of about $85.1 billion.

Mr Murdoch, whose family trust has an economic interest of 16.6% in Fox, stunned the media industry when, just before Christmas past year, he agreed to sell most of the company to Disney in a deal that would represent the biggest shake-up in Hollywood since the 1930s - bringing together respectively the fourth and second largest movie studios in Tinseltown. Disney will acquire 21st Century Fox immediately following the spin-off of the businesses comprising "New Fox" as previously announced.

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With this deal, Disney will get ownership of 20th Century Fox movie and television studio, Fox's 22 regional sports channels, cable channels including FX and National Geographic, and Fox's portfolio of worldwide operations, including a fast-growing pay-TV service in India.

No matter who ends up with Fox, it's going to be bad news for consumers. Comcast's offer was all cash. It's now offering $38 per Twenty-First Century Fox share, up from $28 per share.

If you were hoping for Comcast to lose this bidding war so you could get X-Men and the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney has granted your wish.

The deal also would give Disney a controlling stake in Hulu, the online platform created by media groups to challenge Netflix and Amazon.

However, the amended and restated Disney Merger Agreement contains no changes to the provisions relating to the Company's directors' ability to evaluate a competing proposal.

Disney's latest offer is a "very aggressive move" by Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and may make it hard for Comcast to respond, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Paul Sweeney.

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