News Corp., Disney Ready to Make Final Offers for IFE

From Reuters

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. will make final bids for International Family Entertainment Inc. early this week, but already the price has risen to an eye-popping $1.8 billion, sources said.

News Corp. is thought to have an edge in the bidding, but sources said Friday that Disney remained a strong contender. An unexpected bidder, Viacom Inc., which quietly took a look at IFE in recent weeks, is believed to have withdrawn. Neither Viacom nor Disney would comment Friday, and a News Corp. representative couldn’t be reached for comment.

The contest has driven up the price sharply. News Corp. was earlier reported to have been bidding about $28 a share but the $1.8-billion price suggests the final price will be at least $37 a share. IFE stock jumped $2 last week to close at $27.87 after reports surfaced that Disney was considering making a bid of at least $30 a share.