The Walt Disney Company has officially increased its offer for the purchase of 21st Century Fox, upping its offer to USD 71.3 billion in stock and cash. The new bidding is a drastic increase from the company’s original USD 52.4 billion deal that valued Fox at USD 28 per share.
The offer comes days after Comcast submitted a USD 65 billion all-cash rival bid for Fox’s film and television arm.
Disney has also moved from its original tactic of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men film studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares.
“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, 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,” Rupert further added.
Disney said it expects to pay a total of about $35.7bn in cash and issue 343m new shares to Fox shareholders, representing about a 19% stake in Disney.
The new proposal would see Disney pay $38 per share for Fox, up $10 from its initial bid at $28 per share and more than Comcast’s bid for $35 per share.
The winning party would absorb the FX cable networks, 20th Century Fox, select regional sports networks and at 39 percent stake in British broadcaster Sky.
Fox is in the midst of a multi-year process to acquire the portion of Sky that it does not own. The Walt Disney Company had recently offered to buy Sky News on April 3. However, the offer is meant to help Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox buy full control of Sky News’s parent company, the broadcaster Sky, and not because the British news channel is core to Disney’s business.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has said it would sell off Sky News to Disney or ring-fence it to try to allay regulatory concerns over its proposed acquisition of Sky.