Disney has increased its offer for 21st Century Fox to $71bn

Disney has increased its offer for 21st Century Fox to $71bn (£53bn) after reports the media giant was leaning towards Comcast’s bid. 

The new price of $38 per share is a marked increase on Disney’s original offer of $28, and is also higher than Comcast’s suggested $35. 

In a statement, the board of 21st Century Fox said the new agreement with Disney maent the proposal from Comcast last week “could reasonably be expected to result in a ‘company superior proposal’”.

Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger said the deal would “bring significant financial value” to shareholders of both groups. 

“At a time of dynamic change in the entertainment industry, the combination of Disney’s and Fox’s unparalleled collection of businesses and franchises will allow us to create more appealing high-quality content, expand our direct-to-consumer offerings and international presence, and deliver more personalised and compelling entertainment experiences to meet growing consumer demand around the world,” he added. 

"We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry," said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. 

"We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF's iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world."

Disney and Comcast are already fighting over Sky in the UK.
Fox owns a 39 per cent stake in Sky, and the Murdoch family wants to take on full ownership of the broadcaster. 

Culture secretary Matt Hancock said last month that he would only allow the deal if Sky News was sold off to ensure adequate media plurality. The company has therefore brought Disney on board to take Sky News off its hands in order to let the deal proceed.

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