In a blow to Comcast, Fox has accepted a new offer from The Walt Disney Co. to acquire 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $71.3 billion in cash and stock.
The new $38-per-share acquisition offer gives 21st Century Fox shareholders the option to elect cash or stock in the combined entity, Disney announced.
Click here to read today’s announcement from Disney.
“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,” Investor’s Business Daily reports. “The new agreement also offers more flexibility and other enhancements than the Comcast offer, Fox said on Wednesday.”
The IBD report adds: “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.
“Disney’s latest offer is a ‘very aggressive move’ by Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and may make it difficult for Comcast to respond, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Paul Sweeney. Comcast’s current bid was already poised to load the company up with debt, and its shares have fallen 18% this year.”
IBD quotes Sweeney saying: “Comcast’s balance sheet may preclude it from bidding much higher. 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 high-stakes tussle over the Fox assets follows approval of the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner, which is expected to trigger further media consolidation moves.
Please click here to see Disney’s announcement of its new agreement with Fox.