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Media tycoon Byron Allen offers $10bn to buy ABC, FX, Nat Geo networks from Disney

US media mogul Byron Allen has offered Disney US$10bn to acquire the ABC television network and stations, in addition to cable channels FX and National Geographic.

Byron Allen

The offer, first reported by Bloomberg, remains at a preliminary stage and could change.

The news comes after it emerged last week that Disney had held exploratory talks with local news giant Nexstar Media Group over a potential sale of ABC.

Disney responded to reports of the Nexstar talks by denying that it was in active discussions with the company, which also owns The CW.

“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 Disney last week, while acknowledging elsewhere that it was “open to considering a variety of strategic options” for its various linear businesses.

Sale talk has ramped up after Disney CEO Bob Iger in July signaled to the market he was open to selling certain linear assets when he said they “may not be core” to the media giant’s future.

The offer from Allen also comes on the heels of a feisty carriage dispute with telecommunications giant Charter earlier this month.

The dispute saw Disney-owned channels including sports network ESPN and broadcaster ABC, as well as Disney Channel, FX and Nat Geo, go dark on Charter’s Spectrum service, which serves almost 15 million subscribers in markets including LA and New York.

While Disney and Charter struck a deal early last week, the new agreement sees Disney-owned linear channels such as Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXX and Nat Geo Wild being dropped from the Spectrum package.

Allen, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of LA-based media company Allen Media Group, was one of the frontrunners to acquire BET Media Group earlier this year. However, owner Paramount Global ultimately opted not to sell the company.


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