BUSINESS digest


Comcast vs. Disney in fight for Twenty-First Century Fox

PHILADELPHIA

Comcast may make an offer for Twenty-First Century Fox, potentially putting it in a head-to-head bidding war with Disney. Comcast Corp. on Wednesday did not provide specific details on a bid, other than to say it would be all cash and at a premium to the value of Disney’s current all-stock offer.

The Wall Street Journal and others reported earlier this month Comcast had $60 billion to challenge Disney.

Disney’s $52.4 billion bid would go a long way in allowing it to better compete with technology companies in the entertainment business. Any tie-up would put in its stable more Marvel superheros, as well as the studios that produced the Avatar movies, “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family.” Disney would control Fox’s cable and international TV businesses as well.

Comcast said Wednesday it’s in the “advanced stages” of preparing its bid, adding the structure and terms of its offer would be at least as favorable as Disney’s.

A potential transaction with either Disney or Comcast would not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets.

Target’s 1Q profit falls short amid transition

MINNEAPOLIS

Target, which is pushing through a year of transition, is posting weaker-than-expected profits for the first quarter. The Minneapolis retailer on Wednesday reported a profit of $718 million, or $1.33 per share. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains and to account for discontinued operations, were $1.32 per share, far short of the $1.38 expected on Wall Street, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue jumped to $16.78 billion, edging out analyst projections for $16.53 billion.

For the current quarter, Target expects per-share earnings of between $1.30 and $1.50, about in line with expectations.

The company expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.15 to $5.45 per share, compared with the $5.29 analysts expect. Shares of Target Corp. were down about 3 percent before the opening bell.

Fed minutes: Gradual rate hikes on track

WASHINGTON

Federal Reserve officials earlier this month discussed a number of risks facing the economy, from rising wage pressures to possible harm from administration trade policies. But in the end, officials concluded the Fed should be on track to keep hiking interest rates gradually.

The minutes of the Fed’s May 1-2 meeting show that officials were generally upbeat about the prospects for the economy. Unemployment was expected to fall further, while inflation was expected to rise to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

But the minutes show that officials discussed “a number of risks and uncertainties,” including possible adverse reactions to the administration’s get-tough trade policies.

The Fed left its key policy rate unchanged at the May meeting although many economists are looking for a June rate hike.

Associated Press

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