Disney Reportedly in ‘Handshake’ Deal to Sell Regional Sports Networks to Sinclair
Walt Disney Co. reached a “handshake” agreement to sell its regional sports networks to Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., Fox Business network reported, without saying where it got the information.
The final terms are being worked out, the network reported, saying Sinclair has said it will pay up to $10 billion for the Fox networks if another bidder doesn’t emerge. The buyer’s minority partners include Blackstone Group.
Disney agreed to sell the properties to get clearance for its $71 billion Fox takeover, a transaction that closed last month. Regulators were concerned that the company would have too much control over sports television if it owned both ESPN and the regional broadcasters. Disney had to sell the networks within 90 days of the Fox deal’s completion in mid-March.
The New York Yankees decided to buy back their network from the group, removing a crown jewel that’s valued at about $4 billion. And several deep-pocketed potential suitors, including Comcast Corp., Discovery Inc. and the new Fox Corp. itself, bowed out of contention for the remaining networks.
Analysts originally estimated that the collection could fetch $20 billion to $22 billion, but bids for the properties have been considerably lower.