Disney ups Fox bid to $71.3 billion

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"To us, the fact that Disney went well above the current $35 per share Comcast bid with a 50-50 blend of cash and stock proves to any doubters how serious The Walt Disney Company is about acquiring these assets", Nathanson said.

Disney is offering more than $71 billion for Fox's entertainment businesses in a counterbid to Comcast's almost $66 billion offer.

Fox's board is recommending the increased Disney offer to its shareholders and said that it was "superior" to the offer from Comcast last week.

Disney could sweeten its all-stock bid with cash, given its strong balance sheet and the potential boost to earnings per share, according to Reuters.

In midday trading, shares of Fox rallied almost 7 percent to $47.21.

Fox said it will postpone its special shareholders meeting in order to provide stockholders the opportunity to evaluate Disney's amended offer.

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"We remain convinced that the combination of 21st Century Fox's iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world".

If you're anxious about not being able to see the X-Men team up with the Avengers, an analyst from B. Riley recently discussed the probability of Disney obtaining the rights to the Marvel characters even if Comcast winds up purchasing 21st Century Fox. The bidding war comes after AT&T bought Time Warner for $81 billion, after a federal judge rejected the government's antitrust concerns.

Disney will also take on about $13.8 billion of Fox's net debt, implying a total transaction value of about $85.1 billion. The previous agreement was an all-stock deal, and Comcast's cash offer was seen as a significant enticement.

Following the deal, Fox shareholders would own about 19 percent of the combined company, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said on a conference call.

The move comes a week after Comcast, the US cable giant, offered $65bn in cash for the assets, which include 20th Century Fox - the Hollywood film studio behind hits such as Avatar, X-Men and Ice Age - US cable TV networks including FX and National Geographic and worldwide pay television assets including Star TV in India. "There has just been not only a tremendous amount of development in that space, but clearly the consumer is voting-loudly". The deal will also give Disney 60% ownership of Hulu. "I don't think Bob Iger is walking away".

You can read the full Disney press release HERE and the FOX press release HERE.