Disney ups bid for Fox to $71.3 billion, tops Comcast offer

Disney ups bid for Fox to $71.3 billion, tops Comcast offer
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The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday raised its bid to buy the majority of 21st Century Fox Inc’s TV and film assets to $71.3 billion.

Reuters reports that the $71.3 billion offer comes as a cash-or-stock option, unlike a competing offer from Comcast Corp of $65 billion that comes as a cash-only offer.

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Fox's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, would stand to pay a large amount in capital gains taxes under a cash-only deal, Reuters reports.

The company's board of directors told Reuters that Disney’s new offer was “superior” to Comcast's proposal and would create “one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world.”

Disney's previous offer of $52.4 billion came as an all-stock offer in December. The new offer comes just a week after Comcast's $65 billion bid.

The New York Times reported last week that Comcast was determined to buy Fox's film and TV assets after a deal to absorb Disney fell through in 2004, which sources told the newspaper Comcast views as a mistake.

“Comcast seems hellbent on winning this time, and I think the narrative in Philadelphia is that [CEO Brian Roberts] should have listened to his gut in 2004 and bought Disney,” media analyst Craig Moffett told the Times. “He seems very personally committed to this.”

Roberts said in a statement last week that he was pleased to present a new offer to Fox while expressing disappointment that the company had chosen to negotiate with Disney as well.

“In light of yesterday’s decision in the AT&T/Time Warner case,” Roberts said in the 700-word statement, “we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal.”

A federal judge last week ruled that AT&T and Time Warner can go through with their $85 billion merger, essentially giving Comcast and Disney the greenlight to get in a bidding war over their Fox bids.