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Disney reportedly holding exploratory discussions about ABC sale to Nexstar

Disney has reportedly held initial talks about selling its ABC network and stations to local news giant Nexstar Media Group.

Bob Iger

According to Bloomberg, the talks are still at a preliminary stage and have not gone as far as discussions around a valuation.

Disney responded to the report by denying that it was in active discussions with Nexstar over a potential sale of the ABC broadcast network and stations.

“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,” said the company, while acknowledging elsewhere that it was “open to considering a variety of strategic options” for its various linear businesses.

The reports come after former Nexstar president Thomas Carter, who recently segued into a role as advisor to the CEO and board, said that Nexstar would likely “take a look” at ABC.

Perry Sook

Speaking at an investor conference on Wednesday, he also said that a potential deal could go through with “little friction” and would not exceed any station ownership limits in the US. However, he acknowledged that there were several complications with a potential deal, including the fact that Disney-owned sports brand ESPN shares many telecasts with ABC.

Led by chairman and CEO Perry Sook, Texas-based Nexstar is also the majority owner of The CW, which it acquired from former joint owners Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global last year, as well as cable news channel NewsNation.

News of the talks comes two months after Disney CEO Bob Iger signalled to the market that he was open to selling some of the linear assets when he said that they “may not be core” to the media giant’s future.

Reports of the talks pushed Disney stock up by 1.3% yesterday to US$84.55 per share, while Nexstar stock jumped by 5.9% to more than US$158 per share.

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