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Disney-Fox Deal: Media Stocks Rise After Megadeal Announcement

Media investors reacted Thursday to the blockbuster Disney-21st Century Fox deal, with stocks of several big media companies ticking up in early trading as Wall Street processed the implications of the $54.2 billion pact.

Disney and 21st Century Fox shares both opened the day down 0.3% before rising. Disney stock rose as much as 1.8% as markets opened Thursday before settling into the 0.3%-0.6% range versus the previous closing price. 21st Century Fox’s stock climbed into positive territory in early trading as much as 3%.

Disney is proposing to acquire the 21st Century Fox assets for $28 per share, in a deal valued at $66.1 billion (including $13.7 billion in 21st Century Fox debt). Following the deal’s close, Fox shareholders will own about 25% of Disney.


What’s worth noting: After reports circulated the last several weeks of an impending Disney-Fox deal, many investors likely have already made assumptions about the deal’s impact.

Shares of Time Warner, which is in the midst of its own $85 billion takeover by AT&T, were up slightly before drifting down below $90 per share later in the morning session. Among other media companies: CBS was trending up 1.6%, Viacom climbed 1.9%, and AMC Networks was up 0.7%.

The Disney-Fox deal will add Fox’s cable nets (excluding Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1 and FS2, and Big Ten Network) to the Disney portfolio. Not seeing a lift from the announcement were cable programmers Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive (which Discovery is acquiring). Discovery shares were flat to down in early trading, and Scripps stock also was down slightly (-0.4%) Thursday a.m.

Netflix shares, meanwhile, opened roughly flat at $187.98 per share before rising over 1.5% in early trading.

Under the deal with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Disney is acquiring 20th Century Fox; a cable group that includes FX Networks, National Geographic and more than 300 international channels; and 22 regional sports networks. In addition, Disney will pick up Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, 50% share of Endemol Shine Group, the Star India satellite service, and Fox’s 39% interest in Euro satellite broadcaster Sky.

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