21st Century Fox and Walt Disney Co. have each scheduled shareholder meetings for July 27 to vote on Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets, carving out a timeline for Comcast to potentially bring a better offer to the table.
Fox previously canceled a July 10 meeting to vote on an earlier agreement with Disney, after Comcast offered a $65 billion all-cash deal ($35 per share) in an unsolicited bid on June 13 that topped Disney’s initial $52.4 billion offer. Disney responded on June 20 by upping its offer to $71.3 billion ($38 per share).
The new shareholder meeting is the latest development to put accelerated pressure on Comcast to step up or bow out of the bidding war. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice gave the greenlight to the Fox-Disney deal, on the condition that Disney divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks.
Comcast, meanwhile, has reportedly been considering enlisting the help of a private equity partner to sweeten a rival bid.