×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Ups Fox Bid to $71.3 Billion, Outflanking Comcast

The Walt Disney Company has boosted its bid to acquire the bulk of 21st Century Fox, raising its offer to $71.3 billion in cash and stock. In a statement, Fox said Wednesday that the new deal is significantly better than Disney’s earlier offer and “is superior to the proposal made by the Comcast Corporation.”

The move comes after Comcast launched a rival bid for most of Fox’s film and television holdings. Its $65 billion all-cash offer topped the $52.4 billion deal that Disney inked with Fox in December, fueling expectations of a bidding war between two of the world’s biggest media companies. Both Disney and Comcast see a Fox acquisition as potentially transformative, adding to their arsenal of hit movies and shows at a time when digital behemoths such as Netflix and Amazon are changing the way consumers watch and pay for content.

Disney said it would now pay $38 per share for Fox, up from its initial bid of $28 per share. The deal would be about 50% cash and 50% stock, and debt would be used to partly finance the transaction.

Disney Fox counteroffer

Despite the sweetened offer, Fox’s board said it retained the right to weigh competing bids. Comcast, which had proposed to pay $35 per share, declined to comment on Disney’s freshened offer.

“We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. “We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF’s iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney’s will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world.”

As part of the deal, Disney would acquire 20th Century Fox, Fox’s film studio, as well as a cable group that includes FX Networks, National Geographic and several international channels and regional sports networks. Also included is Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu and 39% interest in European satellite broadcaster Sky.

Fox would retain some assets, including Fox News and Fox Broadcasting Company, and regroup them in a new standalone company run by Murdoch and his son Lachlan.

“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 chief Bob Iger said in a statement. “At a time of dynamic change in the entertainment industry, the combination of Disney’s and Fox’s unparalleled collection of businesses and franchises will allow us to create more appealing high-quality content, expand our direct-to-consumer offerings and international presence, and deliver more personalized and compelling entertainment experiences to meet growing consumer demand around the world.”

The battle for Fox has transfixed the media industry, pitting Iger against Comcast head Brian Roberts, with control of one of Hollywood’s most storied film and television brands in the balance.

Fox’s share price was up 5% in the immediate aftermath of the announcement, while Comcast shares fell 0.5%. Fox has postponed a July 10 meeting, which had originally been scheduled for shareholders to vote on the deal.

Stewart Clarke contributed to this report.

More Biz

  • Saugus High School

    Shooting at California's Saugus High School Leaves One Dead, Multiple Injured

    One person has died and at least three others were injured after a shooter opened fire on Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. Two males were in critical condition at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia. The hospital confirmed on Thursday morning that a female [...]

  • Variety New Leaders Agents and Managers

    Variety's New Leaders 2019: These Representatives Are Making a Mark on the Industry

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Jax Media Soars by Amplifying Unique Voices of Auteur TV

    Jax Media has emerged during the past few years as one of television’s busiest and buzziest production companies. The New York-based company headed by four partners — Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — has an enviable track record of scouting new voices and executing stylish shows on a less-than-stratospheric budgets. The [...]

  • ELAINE WELTEROTH Variety New Leaders

    Variety's New Leaders: Ronan Farrow, Elaine Welteroth Are Making a Big Social Impact

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

  • Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer,

    Kiss Reveal Final Dates of ‘End of the Road’ Farewell Tour

    Just hours after cancelling their Australia tour due to Paul Stanley’s bout with influenza, Kiss have announced the “last legs” of their “End of the Road” farewell tour. According to the announcement, the trek will officially come to a close on July 21, 2021 at a location in the band’s hometown of New York City [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Joins MasterClass Roster for Course on Business Strategy and Leadership

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has signed on to the MasterClass digital education service, offering a course in business strategy and leadership. The course, available as of Thursday, will detail Iger’s view on the importance of taking bold steps and embracing mistakes in business. Iger also promises to dig into “case studies” of some of Disney’s [...]

  • Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's

    Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's Rebound, Pluto TV Growth

    Viacom chief Bob Bakish took a short victory lap on Thursday during the company’s final quarterly earnings call before the completion of its merger with CBS Corp., which is expected to be sealed early next month. Bakish talked up the return of Paramount Pictures to profitability for the first time in four years, and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content