Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen reportedly made a $10 billion bid to acquire Walt Disney’s ABC television network, cable channels FX and National Geographic, and local stations, according to a report of Bloomberg. The publication’s source says the offer is “preliminary and could change,” and that Allen would work with banks and private equity firms to finance the deal.
Disney has yet to publicly acknowledge Allen’s offer. In a statement released earlier this weekThe company said it was “open to considering a variety of strategic options for our linear businesses” in response to rumors that it was in talks to sell the aforementioned properties to Nexstar Media Group. Bloomberg The report claims Allen could sell the non-ABC-affiliated local television stations he already owns to prevent the deal from causing tensions with other networks such as CBS and NBC.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has recently taken several cost-cutting measures to reduce overhead, including layoffs and restructuring key parts of the company. In an interview with CNBC In July, Iger said the company was also considering selling some of its linear television assets amid the market disruption that began during the Covid pandemic. Disney’s traditional television network portfolio includes ABC and cable television channels such as ESPN.
The bid for ABC is not an unusual move for Allen. The comedian-turned-producer has invested $1.3 billion in recent years to add new assets to his media portfolio, including the Weather Channel and a host of local stations from Honolulu to Tucson. However, not all bids to buy other media properties have been successful, and those that have have saddled his company, Allen Media, with with a little debt.
We’ll surely learn more when Allen takes the stage at the Code conferencewho will co-host Edge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel as of September 26.