Disney today (June 20) announced a counter-offer to acquire 21st Century Fox totaling $71bn in cash and stocks.
This bid came as a response to a bid made by Comcast weeks before to purchase the media group in a $65bn, all cash. Disney had initially made the first call for the Murdoch-owned company at a bid of $58.7bn back in December 2017.
Disney stated in an amended merger agreement: “Disney would acquire those businesses on substantially the same terms, except that, among other things, Disney's offer allows 21CF stockholders to elect to receive their consideration, on a value equalized basis, in the form of cash or stock, subject to 50/50 proration.”
The statement also deemed, through consultation by legal and financial counsel, the Comcast offer “unsolicited,” and has not concluded that its offer would be “superior” to what Disney is offering as it had previously claimed to be.
Rupert Murdoch said in a statement: "We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry. 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."
Bob Iger added: “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.”
The push for 21st Century Fox's assets has intensified since the US Department of Justice lost a case to halt the merger of AT&T and Time Warner a week ago. The approved merger was deemed by some as a 'watershed moment' that may pave the way for either Comcast or Disney to acquire the Murdoch company without much legal pushback.