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Disney Outbids Comcast for Fox and is Near U.S. Antitrust Approval Says Source

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) means business when it comes to the many assets that it wants from 21st Century Fox Inc.

The company has significantly upped its previous bid for Fox’s assets from $52.4 billion, or $28 a share, to $71.3 billion, or $38 a share, this week.

Walt Disney and Comcast are both after 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets but Walt Disney Co. may be winning the war.

It was on Wednesday that Fox agreed to the company’s $71 billion bid. Comcast had bid $65 billion earlier in the month.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Disney is close to gaining U.S. antitrust approval for the $71.3 billion deal.

The source, who remains identified as the investigation is confidential, has said that the Justice Department is close to approving the deal in as soon as just two weeks. The source has also revealed that Disney is willing to sell some assets in order to address competition problems that come from the tie-up.

The fact that Disney may gain regulatory approval could be the ticket to beating Comcast for the assets.

“We are already six months into the regulatory process and we are confident we have a clear and timely path to approval,” Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger remarked.

Iger has also said, “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. 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.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts had also said in its letter sent to Rupert Murdoch, who is the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, that it is highly confident it can “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.”

Rupert Murdoch had said to 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.”

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