According to a report from Bloomberg, comedian and media mogul Byron Allen has made a preliminary $10 billion offer to acquire the ABC TV network, as well as FX and National Geographic cable channels, and local stations from Walt Disney. Allen intends to work with banks and private equity firms to finance the deal.
While Disney has yet to publicly acknowledge Allen’s offer, the company has stated that it is open to considering strategic options for its linear businesses. This follows rumors that Disney was in talks to sell these properties to Nexstar Media Group. Allen may potentially sell off the non-ABC affiliated local TV stations he currently owns to avoid conflicts with other networks like CBS and NBC.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has been implementing cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and restructuring, to reduce overhead spending. He also mentioned in a CNBC interview that the company is considering selling some of its linear TV assets due to market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney’s portfolio includes the ABC network and cable TV channels like ESPN.
This offer by Byron Allen is not surprising, as he has previously invested $1.3 billion to expand his media portfolio. His acquisitions include the Weather Channel and a series of local stations across various cities. It is worth noting that some of Allen’s past attempts to purchase media properties have not been successful and have resulted in significant debt for his company, Allen Media.
More details are expected to be revealed when Allen takes the stage at the Code conference, co-hosted by Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel, starting on September 26th.