21st Century Fox’s stock is up on Tuesday following the approval of AT&T’s buyout of Time Warner, with investors eying a bidding war for the studio between Disney and Comcast.
Fox’s stock jumped more than 7 percent in the first hour of trading on Tuesday, hitting $43.55 per share.
Wall Street is betting on a battle for Fox after Comcast confirmed last month that it is preparing an “all-cash” offer to beat Disney’s bid. The Mouse House offered $52.4 billion in stock last December to acquire most of Fox’s properties — including its film and TV studios and much of its non-broadcast television business.
It is widely expected that Comcast will formally submit its bid sometime within the next 24 to 48 hours. Comcast’s bid will likely be around 25-30 percent higher than Disney’s, according to multiple analysts, which would make it around $65 million.
The AT&T-Time Warner deal’s approval has investors and analysts looking at a suddenly frothy market for mergers and acquisitions, with media giants less concerned their deals will be thwarted by government regulators.
It’s easy to see why Disney CEO Bob Iger won’t let Fox go without a fight. Disney is preparing to roll out its own streaming service next year, and infusing it with a bevy of Fox content, including franchises like “Deadpool,” “X-Men,” and “The Simpsons” would help entice customers. ESPN, a Disney property, would also bolster its budding streaming service by adding Fox’s string of regional sports networks.
“Iger will pull out the lightsabers to protect Fox,” Eric Schiffer, CEO of The Patriarch Organization and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told TheWrap. “Iger would rather lose Mickey Mouse’s right arm than lose Fox to Comcast.”
Shares of Disney were up 2 percent to about $106.80 on Tuesday morning, and Comcast was down 1.3 percent to about $32 a share.
Tim Baysinger contributed to this report.