The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is in pole position to win a frenetic bidding war for 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) after upping its offer for the maker of Modern Family and Family Guy by US$10 a share to US$71.3bn.
This trumps the US$65bn deal tabled by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCA) – and looks like it was pitched as a knock-out bid.
Fox shareholders can opt for cash or take their payment in Disney stock.
It’s reported that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and Disney boss Bob Iger met Tuesday night before this new bid was submitted.
Shares of Fox jumped 5% in premarket, while shares of Disney was up 1%.
In a statement Murdoch said: "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.
"We remain convinced that the combination of [Fox's] iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world."
Here's what's on the block
Disney and Comcast are vying for assets including the Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studio as well the U.S. cable networks and regional sports channels.
Outside the US, operations including Sky and Star India are in play along with Fox’s one-third stake in the streaming service Hulu.
Not on the auction block are Fox News, Fox Sports 1, the Fox broadcast network or its television stations.
Irrespective of who eventually wins, the assets would be spun off into a new company, for the moment, dubbed New Fox.