The Fox board recommends its shareholders vote in favor of the enhanced deal, which was approved by the Department of Justice on Wednesday under the condition Disney carves out Fox’s regional sports networks. Disney has agreed to the condition to drop the sports networks to alleviate the DOJ’s concerns.
Comcast is reportedly “scrambling” to line up funding to top Disney’s bid that beat out Comcast’s proposed $65 billion, which itself topped Disney’s initial $52.4 offer put forth in December.
Deadline also reports TCI Fund Management, a major shareholder in 21st Century Fox, is urging Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch to grant Comcast more time to come back with a counter-offer surpassing Disney’s bid of $71.3 billion for most of Fox, namely its film and television assets.
TCI is “strongly motivated” to support the deal that fetches the highest price, said TCI chief Chris Hohn in a letter obtained by Reuters.
In a letter addressed to Fox employees and logged with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Lachlan and James Murdoch said they anticipate the Disney deal to close in six to 12 months.
Disney issued its own stockholders a letter earlier this month urging their vote on the merger between The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., which would see Disney enter into a separation agreement with a newly-formed subsidiary of 21CF dubbed “New Fox.”
That initial agreement would “transfer to New Fox a portfolio of 21CF’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets,” the letter read, indicating assets not falling under the Disney deal.5comments
Under the new deal, “21CF will retain all assets and liabilities not transferred to New Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox film and television studios and certain cable and international television businesses.”
It’s these assets — including the live-action screen rights for Fox-controlled Marvel properties X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four — that Disney would come to acquire, allowing Disney-owned Marvel Studios to integrate characters like Wolverine and Doctor Doom into the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they could then cross paths with characters like the Avengers and Spider-Man.