Disney raises bid for Fox assets to $71.3bn, topping Comcast

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Fox's global media companies Star India and European pay TV company Sky TV Plc appeal to Disney and Comcast for overseas growth.

"The ball is now in Comcast's court", wrote New Street research analysts in a report.

"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", he said.

Disney has boosted its offer for 21st Century Fox to more than $71bn in a bid to knock rival Comcast out of the battle to buy the bulk of Rupert Murdoch's entertainment empire. Additionally, Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts Wednesday morning, "We are already six months into the regulatory process and we are confident we have a clear and timely path to approval". Disney's initial offer before Comcast intervened was $52.4 billion.

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.

A Comcast representative declined to comment, but analysts and investors widely expect a counterbid from the largest US cable company and owner of NBC Universal. The collar on the stock consideration will ensure that 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive a number of Disney shares equal to $38 in value if the average Disney stock price at closing is between $93.53 and $114.32.

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Bloomberg is now reporting the Walt Disney Company's potential purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets is about to pass antitrust approval from USA regulators, according to sources who know about the matter.

Disney's new offer gives Fox shareholders the option to take their payment in the form of cash or stock, up to a 50-50 level.

The United States Justice Department could approve the deal in two weeks time, according to the source, who also states that Disney is willing to see some assets to address issues of competition problems that concern regulators. "Investors have been speculating that they could bid as high as $43-45".

The deal is reportedly close to receiving regulatory approval. Fox and Disney shareholders had been scheduled to vote on Disney's original bid July 10, but that meeting has been postponed.

Fox shares jumped 8 percent to $48.23, while Comcast rose 2.1 percent to $33.52. Upon parting ways with those properties, Fox will spin off its flagship broadcast network business and the Fox News and Fox Sports units to form a new standalone company. Shares of Disney rose 29 cents to $106.47 and Comcast shares rose 22 cents to $33.03 Dollars.

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