Here are some excerpts on the news updates:
The Walt Disney Company has boosted its bid to acquire the bulk of 21st Century Fox, raising its offer to $71.3 billion in cash and stock. In a statement, Fox said Wednesday that the new deal is significantly better than Disney’s earlier offer and “is superior to the proposal made by the Comcast Corporation.”
The move comes after Comcast launched a rival bid for most of Fox’s film and television holdings. Its $65 billion all-cash offer topped the $52.4 billion deal that Disney inked with Fox in December, fueling expectations of a bidding war between two of the world’s biggest media companies. Both Disney and Comcast see a Fox acquisition as potentially transformative, adding to their arsenal of hit movies and shows at a time when digital behemoths such as Netflix and Amazon are changing the way consumers watch and pay for content.
In launching the bid last week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a letter to Fox’s board, “We were disappointed when [Fox] decided to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price.” He added, “We are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal.”
Disney buying Fox is the deal that seems to make the most thematic sense. Given Disney’s control over some of the most profitable franchises in modern Hollywood, it’s a somewhat sensible suggestion that they would want to complete the set, as it were. Buying Fox’s assets would give them control over the remaining Marvel properties they don’t yet possess, notably Deadpool, X-Men and Fantastic Four. Minor Marvel efforts like FX’s Legion would also come under their sizable umbrella, as would the Avatar franchise (which already has pride of place in Disney thanks to its inclusion as a theme park attraction in Animal Kingdom).
The problem with this is that the chances are we won’t see more movies as a result of such a deal. Disney would have less to gain from further competition, even from themselves, so the number of films released every year would probably go down. Why put, say, the new Alien film on the release calendar next to the new Marvel film when both movies are aiming at similar demographics and the money is going to the same place? Ryan Murphy signed an exclusive deal with Netflix in February and cited the possible Fox-Disney deal as one of the reasons for his departure from Fox, where he had hit shows such as Glee and American Horror Story. Murphy noted that his creative freedom could be limited under such a restrictive deal.