As summer approaches, major M&A activity in the entertainment sector is also heating up, with Disney now upping its bid for assets of 21st Century Fox in the face of competition from Comcast.
The upped bid from Disney now stands at US$71.3 billion in cash and stocks, up from the original bid made in December of last year, of approximately $52.4 billion.
On June 14, Comcast officially launched a $65 billion bid for the Fox assets, which include Fox’s film and television studios; a stable of cable networks including FX, National Geographic and Star India among others; and Fox’s stakes in European satcaster Sky and Hulu as well as a 50% stake in Endemol Shine Group, and a bevy of regional sports networks.
“The acquisition of 21st Century Fox will bring significant financial value to the shareholders of both companies, and after six months of integration planning we’re even more enthusiastic and confident in the strategic fit of the assets and the talent at Fox,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, in a statement accompanying the news.
“At a time of dynamic change in the entertainment industry, the combination of Disney’s and Fox’s unparalleled collection of businesses and franchises will allow us to create more appealing high-quality content, expand our direct-to-consumer offerings and international presence, and deliver more personalized and compelling entertainment experiences to meet growing consumer demand around the world,” he added.
The amended agreement now awaits approval from Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders. A release from Fox, also issued on June 20, states that the amended Disney proposal “offers a package of consideration, flexibility and deal certainty enhancements that is superior to the proposal made by the Comcast Corporation on June 13, 2018.”
Still, the door remains open for the bidding war to continue, with Fox adding: “the amended and restated Disney Merger Agreement contains no changes to the provisions relating to the Company’s directors’ ability to evaluate a competing proposal.”