21st Century Fox is reportedly heading toward a deal to buy 10 U.S. television stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
According to the Financial Times, Sinclair is selling off the stations as part of the approval process for its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.
For Fox, the deal would bolster what would remain of the company after its proposed $52 billion asset sale to Disney. As part of the deal, Disney will assume $13.7 billion of net debt from 21st Century Fox, lifting the total transaction cost to approximately $66 billion.
Disney will take ownership of film businesses including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, along with television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox 21.
Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group, according to a release.
21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.
Sinclair late last year was reported to be close to deal with the U.S. Justice Department for approval of its Tribune acquisition. The New York Post said that the DOJ was pushing for Sinclair to divest 13 stations but Sinclair was fighting to get that number down to 10. At the time, Sinclair had reportedly received offers for the stations from fellow broadcast groups including Meredith, Nexstar Media and Tegna.
Sinclair is reportedly looking to sell full-power stations in markets where it would own two stations following the Tribune deal. According to the report, Fox is hoping it could better monetize its NFL rights by owning those stations.