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Is Disney Arranging Financing to Fend Off Comcast for Fox Assets?

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 2:29 p.m. ET

Disney looking to arrange cash

Walt Disney (DIS) is reportedly looking for financing for a significant cash offer to 21st Century Fox (FOX.A), if needed, to move forward with its $52.4 billion deal with Fox signed in December 2017. 

Disney is engaged in an acquisition deal in which it plans to acquire most of Fox’s movie studio and entertainment assets. However, the bid faces a possible competing offer from media giant Comcast (CMCSA).

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Comcast’s competing offer

Last month, Comcast announced that it is in the “advanced stages of preparing” an all-cash offer for the Fox assets. Reuters reported on May 7 that Fox is expected to bid ~$60.0 billion for Fox’s assets, higher than Disney’s acquisition price. So, Disney is preparing to act if Fox’s board of directors demands cash as part of Disney’s deal, which currently is all stock. 

According to industry sources, it’s unclear whether Disney is looking to add cash on top of its existing bid or include cash in the composition of its current proposal. According to Rupert Murdoch, Fox’s executive chairman, Disney’s all-stock deal is more favorable than Comcast’s all-cash offer, as the assets could be spun off tax-free.

Comcast is ready to move forward with its bid if a federal judge rules in favor of AT&T (T) in a trial over its $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner (TWX). The outcome of the AT&T–Time Warner merger is expected to take place on June 12.

The acquisition of Fox’s assets is important for Disney, as Fox’s massive collection of movies and TV programming is expected to boost Disney’s revenues significantly and would broaden its content portfolio.

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