Walt Disney raises bid for Fox assets to US$71.3 billion, tops Comcast
The 21st Century Fox logo is displayed outside the News Corporation building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
REUTERS: Walt Disney Co sweetened its bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc assets to US$71.3 billion on Wednesday, topping Comcast Corp's US$65 billion offer last week.The new offer of US$38 a share, which would be split 50-50 in cash and stock, is US$10 higher than Disney's first bid in December 2017. Comcast's last bid was for US$35 a share in cash.
Disney's latest offer is "superior" to the proposal made by Comcast, Fox said in a statement. Comcast declined to comment.Fox shares jumped 8.5 percent to US$48.50 in premarket trading, while Comcast was up 2.1 percent at US$33.50. Shares of Disney added 0.6 percent to US$106.74.Disney's revised offer could be attractive for Rupert Murdoch, who is Fox's largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake, as it would lower his capital gains tax bill.Tax experts have told Reuters that Murdoch could face a multibillion dollar capital gains tax if he accepted an all-cash offer from Comcast.
Fox said it will postpone its special shareholders meeting in order to provide stockholders with an opportunity to evaluate Disney's amended offer.Disney and Comcast are battling to win Fox's movie and television studios at a time when legacy media and distribution companies are looking to expand to better compete with newer media firms like Netflix Inc that sell their content directly to viewers.Fox's international assets such as Star India appeal to both Disney and Comcast, which want to expand their global presence.(Reporting by Sheila Dang in New York and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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