As expected, following the court ruling on Tuesday that allowed AT&T to proceed with plans to buy Time Warner, Comcast has now placed an all cash bid to the tune of $65 billion to buy 21st Century Fox, which equates to $35 per share. Their previous stated plan was to bid $60 billion, but apparently, Comcast REALLY wants to snatch Fox away from Disney, which placed a bid last year to buy Fox for $52.4 billion in stocks. Like the AT&T deal, this bid was challenged by the Department of Justice, who were seeking to block the company from creating an unfair monopoly. Fox and Disney shareholders will gather in Manhattan on July 10, where the Fox shareholders will vote on whether or not to accept Disney’s bid, but now that the judge has ruled in AT&T’s favor, they must now decide which is more desirable– Disney’s stock bid or Comcast’s cash bid.
On Wednesday, Fox stated:
“21st Century Fox’s board, in consultation with its outside legal counsel and financial advisers, will carefully review and consider the Comcast proposal.”
Of course, Disney’s offer isn’t locked in. Expect within the next day or so, for the House of Mouse to up their offer and possibly either tack on additional cash or even modify its present offer to cash instead of stocks, or a mix of both. The downside of a stock bid is that shares could always depreciate. For instance, Disney stock dipped a bit after ‘Solo’ opened to a new franchise low, down 2.4% and was, as of May 29, down 8% year-over-year from 2017.
Comcast states that it is “highly confident that our proposed transaction will obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner and that our transaction is as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction.”
In terms of fans, the highlight of Disney possibly buying Fox means that they would acquire the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four and potentially integrate them into its highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Comcast snatches Fox away, that will never happen unless Comcast decides to strike a deal with Disney. But while the ‘X-Men’ team movies haven’t been doing so well of late, ‘Logan’ got a rare Academy Award nomination and glowing praise from critics and fans, and the low-budget ‘Deadpool’ movies are possibly the most profitable in the superhero genre.
While the decision facing Fox shareholders would seem to be entirely financial, there is consideration given to how well its properties— which also include ‘Avatar’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Predator’ and more– will mesh with the company buying them. Not only would Disney be able to integrate the X-Men and Fantastic Four into their Marvel movies, but the Disney theme parks have added ‘Avatar’ attractions. There is already something of a working relationship that exists between the two. So even with a lower bid, Fox may feel that they are in better white-gloved hands with Disney.
Now that Comcast has officially thrown its hat into the ring, expect Disney to come back with a counteroffer most likely sooner than later.
Source: The Verge