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Volume 26 No. 60
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Sources: Big3 Adds Two New Big-Money Backers To Fox RSN Bid

Carolyn Rafaelian joins Centerbridge Partners and Macquarie Group in backing a Big3 bid for the RSNs
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Big3 has "added two new big-money players" to its bid for 21 of the 22 Fox RSNs, teaming up with investment bank Macquarie Group and entrepreneur Carolyn Rafaelian "thanks to Ice Cube," according to sources cited by Morgan & Kosman of the N.Y. POST. Sources said that the two new investors, along with previously announced Centerbridge Partners, are "backing Big3" for at least $1B apiece. Sources also said that the total backing "gives the group enough equity to raise whatever debt required" to cover the $10B the RSNs are expected to fetch. Behind the Big3's bid are "plans to create a single new network." The Big3, which would then have to "name the planned network, wants to create 24/7 content that appeals to young people by emphasizing culture and diversity in addition to sports" (N.Y. POST, 3/7).

SEIZING THE MOMENT: MLB is among the bidders, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said the order for Disney to divest the channels happened at "a very inopportune time" for MLB. Manfred said that some of the potential buyers for the RSNs "'that probably would have been good for our sport' aren't able to bid on them." Manfred mentioned AT&T and Comcast as two examples of this. Manfred also said that as a result, many bidders have been "private equity firms, a turnoff for MLB, since many in that industry look to exit investments after a relatively brief amount of time." He added the availability of the RSNs "allows MLB to potentially centralize things, mediawise," as MLB "generates a far higher level of revenue locally than the other major sports" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/6).