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Disney engages in discussions with Nexstar regarding potential ABC sale: Report


Walt Disney Co has engaged in preliminary talks regarding the potential sale of its U.S. TV network ABC to Nexstar Media Group Inc, a regional TV station operator, according to individuals with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

These discussions follow Disney CEO Bob Iger’s statement in July, where he mentioned the possibility of divesting some of the company’s conventional TV holdings. These assets have faced challenges over the years due to the increasing dominance of streaming services.

As reported by Reuters citing sources, Nexstar’s interest is preliminary and may not lead to any deal.

Both sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential.

A Disney spokesperson said while the company was “open to considering strategic options for its linear business”, it has not made a decision yet on the divestiture of ABC or any other property, Reuters noted.

Also Read: Disney explores strategic options for its business in India: Report

Nexstar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Following the initial report, Disney’s stock experienced a 1.2% increase in its closing price, whereas Nexstar’s stock surged by 5.7%. Bloomberg News was the first to disclose the discussions between the two companies regarding a potential deal for ABC.

Disney’s ABC encompasses a national television network along with eight regional stations. Additionally, it holds affiliation agreements with approximately 240 local television stations, effectively reaching nearly all households in the United States that have access to television.

Also Read: Disney gambles on free cricket to turn the tables in India streaming war

Nexstar Media Group operates around 200 owned or partnered stations across 116 markets, extending its reach to over two-thirds of the US population. Additionally, Nexstar owns national TV networks like CW and NewsNation, and the company is currently valued at $5.25 billion.

In 1995, Disney’s Chief Executive at the time, Michael Eisner, approved the acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC for a total of $19 billion.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Updated: 15 Sep 2023, 06:43 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.