It seemed like fair winds and following seas for 21st Century Fox who is set to meet with the Walt Disney Company on July 27th to discuss the multinational media company’s bid to purchase a majority of the Fox assets until recent legal troubles have emerged to challenge it. Not every one of 21st Century Fox’s shareholders is on the same boat with the Mouse’s $71.3 billion acquisition, which was recently approved by the Department of Justice last month. The deal has officially hit a bump in the road as a result of a lawsuit filed by a group of shareholders lead by Robert Weiss, THR reports.
Weiss and his fellow shareholders filed the lawsuit through a US federal court in Delaware. The lawsuit states that a “proxy statement filed on June 28th omits or misrepresents the company’s financial projections and the data underlying financial valuation analyses from Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners.”
The complaint made by the plaintiffs reads, “In short, unless remedied, 21CF’s public stockholders will be forced to make a voting or appraisal decision on the Proposed Transaction without full disclosure of all material information concerning the Proposed Transaction being provided to them.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of the buy-out seemingly becoming cemented after a heated bidding war between the Walt Disney Co. and Comcast after they raised their bidding price to $71.3 billion. Insiders have stated that the new $38-a-share price is approximately $10-a-share higher than the original $52.4 billion that Disney offered in December, and it is $3 billion higher than Comcast’s $65 billion that was pitched early last month.
This lawsuit does give Comcast potentially more time than they already do to propose a counter-offer, which would cause Disney to increase it’s bid for 21st Century Fox’s assets once again. 21st Century Fox, however, does not seem to have any concerns about the multinational telecommunications trying to make a counteroffer in a letter sent to employees by Lachlan and James Murdoch. The letter seemingly suggests that the expectation is that the deal with Disney will close and become finalized within a 6 to 12 month period following the Department of Justice’s conditional approval. It is also believed that despite being hospitable towards a counteroffer from Comcast, Rupert Murdoch is more interested in selling his company’s assets to Disney as it would alleviate the amount of legal concerns over the legality of selling to Comcast due to antitrust laws. Supporters of a Comcast buyout have recently begun argue that antitrust laws may not be a concern after the recently successful merger between AT & T and Time Warner.
It is not currently known what sort of impact Weiss’ lawsuit will have on the Disney/Fox discussions, but Fox has yet to comment on the matter at this present moment. The one thing that is for certain though, is that it does leave the possibility of seeing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four further in limbo than it already is for those hoping for such a crossover to come from this buyout.
What do you think of this news? Do you think the Fox/Disney buyout will happen? Let us know in the comments below!