While last week it appeared that The Walt Disney Company had 21st Century Fox in the bag, Comcast isn’t going down without a fight, it seems.
Last month, the multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate, also known as Disney, proffered a new and improved $71.3 billion tender for the rights to intellectual properties owned by the Rupert Murdoch-founded corporation – which, by the way, was quickly green-lit by the Department of Justice.
Then, having reportedly accepted the new and enhanced Disney proposal – which not only increased significantly upon the initial bid of $52 billion but was also adjusted to include cash – the bride-to-be, 21st Century Fox, set July 27th as the date stockholders will vote on the proposed buyout. However, having stifled the amalgamation once before with a $65 billion all-cash bid, Comcast is about to make life that much more difficult for the Mouse House.
According to Jefferies analyst, John Janedis, “given the strategic importance of the 21st Century Fox assets, we expect Comcast will come back with a higher offer.” Janedis went on to forecast that the next bid from the global telecommunications conglomerate could be valued at around $80 billion.
Considering the nature of the intellectual properties owned by 21st Century Fox – Deadpool, Fantastic Four and the X-Men – RBC Capital Markets analyst, Steven Cahall, echoed a similar sentiment to that of Janedis, saying: “There is certainly a scarcity premium here that defies the way we normally look at multiples. These are hugely strategic assets that cannot be necessarily replicated through organic investment.”
Noting the “bigger balance sheet” possessed by Comcast, effectively allowing them “more debt capacity,” and as such, meaning it “can pay a higher price,” Cahall also stated that the bidding war could persist for an extended amount of time. Although, seeing as Comcast has roughly $6 billion in cash, compared to Disney‘s $4 billion, ”if it has to be an all-cash bid, it would suggest that Comcast is in a stronger position.”
So, what will Fox ultimately do? Well, no one really knows for certain right now, but as soon as we get some concrete updates, we’ll be sure to share them with you.