LOS ANGELES (CBS News/AP) – Disney is making a $71.3 billion counterbid for Fox’s entertainment businesses following Comcast’s $65 billion offer earlier this month for the company.
Fox accepted the sweetened terms, saying it offers “a package of consideration, flexibility and deal certainty enhancements that is superior to the proposal made by the Comcast Corporation.”
The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms. They are amassing ever more programming to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention — and dollars.
Disney’s move had been expected ever since Comcast’s bid, which was higher than Disney’s original offer in December of $52.5 billion in stock. Comcast’s offer was all cash. Disney’s new offer of $38 per share is half cash and half stock.
Shares of Fox jumped $2.88, or 6.5 percent, to $47.16 in early trading, which may suggest investors are expecting Comcast to return with an upped bid. Shares of Disney rose 29 cents to $106.47 and Comcast shares rose 22 cents to $33.03 USD.
“The ball is now in Comcast’s court,” wrote New Street research analysts in a report. “Investors have been speculating that they could bid as high as $43-45.”
The deal would include Fox film and TV studios, some cable networks and international assets, but not Fox News Channel or the Fox television network. AT&T just bought Time Warner for $81 billion, after a federal judge rejected the government’s antitrust concerns.
Disney had made a $52.5 billion all-stock offer in December. It’s now offering $38 per Twenty-First Century Fox share, up from $28 per share.
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