Ever since Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke about potentially selling some of their linear television networks, since he doesn’t think they are still a core business for the company, as he is focusing on its theatrical releases, streaming and theme park resort businesses.

Over the past few months, Disney has been in talks with Nexstar and Byron Allen’s Media Group about potentially selling its channels, with Bryon Allen putting in a $10 billion offer to buy Walt Disney’s ABC Television network and assets, including the FX and National Geographic cable channels.   Following these reports coming to light, Disney issued a statement about a potential sale of ABC and its linear business:

“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.”

On Wednesday evening,  Byron Allen was awarded with the Visionary Award at the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery’s Visionary Ball and during the event, he shared a small update on him trying to purchase ABC and its networks.

“I think ABC’s a real possibility. They say they’re not ready.  When they’re ready I’m going to chase it down like a lion chases down a gazelle.”

While Byron’s offer originally also included the FX and National Geographic channels, Byron has said that those channels might not need to be included in the deal. However, he did reveal what he’s really interested in:

“The one thing that needs to be in the shopping cart to keep my interest is ABC and the ABC owned-and-operated stations — and I wouldn’t mind if they threw in ‘Kelly and Mark’ and ‘Tamron Hall,’”

Bryon’s Media Group already owns a number of ABC affiliate channels, and while many within the entertainment industry are looking to streaming as the future, he is building his business focused on traditional broadcast channels.    Disney does have many options with its linear business, selling some or all of the local television channels it owns, but keeping hold of the main ABC network, or completely leaving the linear business completely, as it has done in many countries around the world.

With Disney trying to reorganise its business to be more focused, with several buyers showing interest in its linear business, the big decision is going to come down to whether Disney is willing to let linear go, or regret not getting out now, before the audience shrinks further.   There are still many advantages for Disney to keep hold of the ABC network, especially with large deals with sports leagues like the NFL, who want to reach their largest audience.    While the sale of ABC channels wouldn’t include any shows created by ABC Signature Studios or ABC News Studios, would Disney be willing to let go of some of its daytime TV shows?

Do you think Disney will sell ABC to the Byron Allen Group?  Let us know on social media!




Source – Variety


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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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