Four bidders in running to buy Fox's RSNs after Disney takeover
The sale of Fox Regional Sports Networks in USA, required as part of Walt Disney’s $71-billion takeover of Fox, is nearing completion, with four bidders reported to be in the running: Liberty Media (owner of Formula 1 motor racing); Major League Baseball; Sinclair Broadcast Group; and BIG3, a new basketball league created by hip-hop impresario Ice Cube.
The bids are reported to be worth around $10 billion, only about half of the amount that that bankers were seeking, and the third and final round of bids is due on 15 April.
Last June, the US Department of Justice gave approval for Disney’s takeover of Fox, on the condition that it sold off Fox’s 22 regional sports networks in the country, and this must be completed within 90 days of the closing of the deal, which concluded on 20 March.
Late bids could still be tabled by private equity firm Apollo Global Management and Amazon, which is a minority owner of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, one of the RSNs, Fox Business has reported.
Earlier this month, MLB’s New York Yankees agreed a deal to buy back the YES Network from Disney for $3.5 billion.
Disney is also assuming about $13.8 billion in net debt from Fox, and the integration is expected to result in up to 4,000 job losses as operations are combined and resources reallocated to Disney’s newly-prioritised over-the-top services.