Disney has responded to reports claiming the company is in early talks to sell its ABC network and TV stations, saying the company “has made no decision” on it yet.
“While we are open to considering a variety of strategic options for our linear businesses, at this time The Walt Disney Company has made no decision with respect to the divestiture of ABC or any other property and any report to that effect is unfounded,” the statement reads.
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Conversations regarding the potential sale have been swirling since the summer after CEO Bob Iger revealed the company’s intention to be “open-minded and objective” about the future of Disney’s linear TV holdings, which include broadcast network ABC as well as FX, Disney Channel, Nat Geo and Freeform, among others.
Nexstar moved to the top of the bidders list when earlier this week, Tom Carter, a former Nexstar executive who now serves as senior advisor to CEO Perry Sook and the board of directors, told a crowd at the BofA Securities Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference that the company could buy Disney’s stations with “little friction” and hinted at a potential opportunity to do so “depending on how things fall out.”
Bloomberg reported that Byron Allen is also among those interested in a sale. The media mogul’s Allen Media Group has already invested over $1 billion in the last three years to acquire 27 NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates. He also purchased the Black News Channel for $11 million. His last move to acquire majority stake in Paramount’s BET channel fell through when the company decided to withdraw plans to sell.
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