In a (perhaps not so shocking) turn of events, the Walt Disney Company has reentered its tug-of-war with Comcast over the acquisition of Fox’s film and TV divisions with a new $71.3 billion bid today. This bid is not only $18.9 billion higher than its original bid in December but it has also changed its terms, which had originally offered only stock, to offer a 50/50 split between a cash and stock payout. Importantly, this also is $6.3 billion more than Comcast’s all-cash offer earlier this month.
This new bid puts Disney back on firm footing in its battle to acquire Fox’s film and television assets, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, FX Productions, National Geographic Partners and a majority stake in Hulu. But, if we’ve learned anything from these updates, it’s that nothing should be set in stone just yet.
In case you’re not caught up on the twists and turns of this acquisition, here’s what you missed:
In December, Disney bid to buy Fox’s film and television assets — excluding Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and a few others that will branch off to form the “New Fox” channel — for an all-stock offer of $52.4 billion. According to Disney’s release in December this was a “definitive agreement” between the companies, but that was shaken up this summer by an offer from Comcast.
In May, Comcast announced that it was considering a “superior” all-cash bid on the Fox assets and made good on that statement last week with a $65 billion offer.
Today, that scale tips once more in Disney’s favor. In response to the news, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, told Variety “We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF’s iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney’s will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world.”
However, despite this praise, Fox’s board has stated that it retains the rights to weigh competing bids. So buckle-up, it looks like this ride isn’t over yet.