It looks like Fox is one step closer to completing the sale of its assets, as the company has officially accepted the latest, and largest offer from Disney.
Earlier this morning, The Walt Disney Company made an updated offer of $71.3 billion to purchase 21st Century Fox, topping the $65 billion bid from Comcast. Bloomberg now reports that Fox has accepted Disney's proposal, making it the offer to beat in the bidding war.
The term "accepted" may be misinterpreted in this scenario. This doesn't mean that Fox is now selling to Disney for $71.3 billion and everything is a done deal. All this means is that the company is officially recognizing Disney's bid as the single best offer on the table. If a better offer isn't made, this will be the deal that moves forward. Comcast still has an opportunity to return with an even higher bid.
However, this scenario is growing increasingly difficult, as Disney's new offer is hard to beat. The offer comes with a $38-per-share stock price, which is about $10 more than the company offered in its initial bid late last year. Additionally, Disney's offer comes with the agreement to take on Fox's net debt, which increases the overall total of the transaction to $85.1 billion.
While the back-and-forth may not have been what Disney expected, the company certainly sounds confident that it will weather the storm.
“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,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “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.”
It's unclear at this point whether or not Comcast will increase its bid.