The Global Media Weekly for executives and entrepreneurs

Disney swells Fox offer to $71.3bn

Broadcast-streaming. Disney upped its offer for the majority of 21st Century Fox by a massive $20bn to $71.3bn, significantly more than the $65bn rival offer from Comcast. Disney also moved from its original all-stock deal to one with nearly $36bn in cash. Most observers are predicting this is a knockout bid from Disney which, like Comcast and all other broadcasters, is hungry for the content, studio deals and platforms with which to get stuck into global streaming and rein in Netflix before it is too late. If Disney wins this battle, will Comcast (which once wanted just to buy the 40% Fox-owned Sky TV cable and satellite network in the UK, Germany and Italy) bid to acquire ITV, the UK’s largest free-to-air commercial network which also has an enviable production group. If Disney gets Fox/Sky and Comcast snares ITV, Brits will start to believe the dark media predictions that soon they will only be watching US programmes on US networks. The sideshow to watch is what will the Murdoch family do with the Fox News, Sports and US TV stations they will extract from 21st Century Fox when (either) deal goes through? Is a ‘New Fox’ merger with News Corp (which still has a lot of shareholders in common, a legacy of the post-phone hacking split with Fox) still the most likely outcome? So the Murdoch brothers will still have a sizeable, global family business…?