New Fox officially rules out bid to buy back RSNs from Disney

Fox Sports
Fox is officially done with its regional sports networks. (Fox Sports)

New Fox, the company consisting of what’s left after Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox, has officially ruled out an attempt to buy back its regional sports networks (RSNs).

As part of a conditional approval of the Fox deal from the Justice Department, Disney must sell off Fox’s 22 RSNs. New Fox has been mentioned among rumored bidders for the stations, which were valued at approximately $20 billion within the construct of Disney’s deal for Fox.

But in an SEC filing, Fox said that it does not intend to bid for any of the stations. The filing disclosed Fox’s intentions to begin preliminary discussions with investors about potential financing consisting of senior unsecured notes.

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Though Fox has taken itself out of the running for the networks—which offer live sports programming from leagues including the NBA, MLB and NHL—plenty of other potential bidders are still reportedly interested.

In November, CNBC’s David Faber reported that Amazon is bidding on all of the networks. Apollo Global Management, KKR & Co., The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and TEGNA all placed first-round bids for the entire network package.

Recent reports also suggest that rapper and actor Ice Cube is part of a group putting together a $15 billion bid for the networks. The New York Yankees are also rumored to be teaming up with Amazon and Sinclair in a bid to buy back YES Network.

While Disney doesn’t seem to be short of suitors, the company does have a limited time frame in which to find a buyer or buyers. The DOJ is giving Disney a minimum of 90 days (with the possibility of extending the deadline by another 90 days) after closing the Fox deal to secure a sale of the RSNs.

Reports suggest the Disney-Fox deal could close as soon as this month.

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