BUSINESS
06/20/2018 10:01 am ET

Disney Hikes Bid For Fox Entertainment Assets To $71.3 Billion

The sum tops Comcast's $65 billion offer.
Twenty-First Century Fox has been holding talks to sell its entertainment assets for months, leaving a portfolio focused
Spencer Platt via Getty Images
Twenty-First Century Fox has been holding talks to sell its entertainment assets for months, leaving a portfolio focused on news and sports.

(Reuters) ― Walt Disney Co sweetened its bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc assets to $71.3 billion on Wednesday, topping Comcast Corp’s $65 billion offer last week.

The new offer of $38 a share, which would be split 50-50 in cash and stock, is $10 higher than Disney’s first bid in December 2017. Comcast’s last bid was for $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 $48.50 in premarket trading, while Comcast was up 2.1 percent at $33.50. Shares of Disney added 0.6 percent to $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.

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