Sources: Disney Sends Out Official Bid Book For Fox RSN Sale
Disney’s sales process for Fox’ 22 RSNs took a big step forward last week when the company sent the official bid book to prospective bidders, according to several sources. Said to be more than 150 pages, the book was sent to networks, digital companies, distributors and investment banks who agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Allen & Co. and JP Morgan Chase are handling the sale for Disney, sources said. It is not known exactly which companies received the book, but one surprise is that Comcast did not, as sources say that it found the some of the NDA’s conditions to be too onerous. It has been long assumed that Comcast was interested in buying the Fox RSNs in markets where it operates a dominant cable system: Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Tampa. Comcast could change course and sign the NDA later in the sale process, sources say. Charter also has played down speculation that it is interested in buying the RSNs. Fox, which has run the 22 RSNs and obviously helped prepare the book, is believed to be interested in buying the RSNs back.
INTERESTED PARTIES: Other media companies that could be interested include Sinclair, which sees Fox’ local sports channels as a complement to the local broadcast stations that it owns. AT&T already owns several RSNs and is believed to be interested. On the digital front, Amazon and Google are said to be interested, as are private equity groups like The Blackstone Group and BlackRock Distributors. Sources also suggested that agencies like Endeavor and CAA could kick the tires. Regulators said that Disney must sell the 22 RSNs within 90 days of the closing of its $71.3B acquisition of 21st Century Fox’ entertainment assets. The deal could close before the end of the year. The RSNs have been valued at north of $20B.