Disney CEO Bob Iger Comments On The Need For The Fox Deal

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This makes life hard for Comcast, which is already borrowing extravagantly and would become one of the most indebted companies in the world if it bought Fox.

Fox said the company directors remain open to "evaluating a competing proposal". 21st Century Fox also holds approximately 39.1 per cent of the issued shares of Sky, Europe's leading entertainment company, which serves almost 23 million households across five countries.

The new Disney offer, which would be in cash or stock divided proportionately, is about $10 higher than Disney's first bid in December 2017. Comcast's last bid was for $35 a share in cash.

Just how high can the bidding war go? A Disney representative didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. "They are out of the game right now!"

"We believe that we have a much better opportunity both in terms of approval and the timing of that approval than Comcast does in this case", Iger said.

Comcast may face tougher regulatory scrutiny if the deal involves any transfer of television licenses, which would trigger an Federal Communications Commission review, said Ketan Jhaveri, a former Justice Department attorney who served on its telecommunications task force for internet policy.

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Analysts have been gearing up for more media consolidation following last week's approval by a USA judge of a massive $85 billion takeover by telecom-broadband giant AT&T of media-entertainment conglomerate Time Warner. ("21CF") (NASDAQ: FOXA, FOX) announced today that it has entered into an amended and restated merger agreement with The Walt Disney Company ("Disney") (NYSE: DIS) pursuant to which Disney has agreed to acquire for a price of $38 per 21CF share the same businesses Disney agreed to acquire under the previously announced merger agreement between 21CF and Disney (the "Disney Merger Agreement"). It's also likely no coincidence this revised bid also came on the same day Fox was set to assess the bid made by Comcast. They will also assume $13.8 billion of debt from Fox. Those will be spun off into a new company.

Following the deal, Fox shareholders would own about 19 percent of the combined company, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said on a conference call.

21st Century Fox is one of the world's leading portfolios of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets spanning six continents across the globe.

"If Disney buys above $80 billion but then is able to take the content, pivot hard with a direct-to-consumer offering, and create a robust subscription business with tens of millions of subscribers, people will look back and say it was genius", said John Janedis, a media analyst at Jefferies LLC.

Disney has also moved from its original tactic of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men to the Deadpool studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares.