DISNEY Ups FOX Bid to Knock of Rival Comcast

Disney raises bid for 21st Century Fox assets to more than $70.3 billion

Walt Disney Co.is close to winning USA antitrust approval for its $71 billion deal for 21st Century Fox Inc.'s entertainment assets, according to a person familiar with the matter, creating a potentially insurmountable hurdle for a rival bid from Comcast Corp. Disney's latest enticement is worth $71.3 billion in cash and stock - almost $19 billion north of the company's $52.4 billion bid, which Fox accepted last December.

So Fox and Disney can expect Comcast to come running back with a new offer.

Disney raised its offer for the assets from $52.4bn to $71.3bn and also for the first time made an alternative available to Fox shareholders who would rather receive an element of cash instead of Disney 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", Murdoch said.

The amended agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of Disney and 21st Century Fox.

In a call with analysts, Iger said he believes Disney's bid is superior to Comcast's from a regulatory perspective, and said that six months of dealing with regulators both in the USA and internationally has given Disney a 'meaningful head start'.

If you're interested how this shakes out beyond the Marvel implications, this also means that Disney will the distribution rights to the original 1977 Star Wars film for Lucasfilm, as well as the rights to franchises like Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Die Hard, Kingsman, Ice Age and Night at the Museum, among others. It can't really be said that Comcast would have really done anything good with them, so we will just have to wait and see how this pans out - as Comcast could still make a higher offer.

The tussle follows AT&T Inc.'s victory over the U.S. Justice Department in its antitrust battle to take over Time Warner Inc. Insiders speculated that Comcast would again provide a counter bid, but with federal approval imminent it could be a moot point.

The deal would boost Disney's worldwide dominance in the industry and include Fox film and TV studios, as well as some cable networks and global assets.

Fox shares rose 5.4 percent, to $47.11, in premarket trading, while Comcast was marginally lower. Disney added 1.2 percent to $107.43.

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.

"The ball is now in Comcast's court", wrote New Street research analysts in a report.

21st Century Fox is the next big prize as the media industry consolidates to survive against competitors such as Netflix and Facebook.

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