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Fox Not Planning To Bid On RSNs

‘New’ Fox does not intend to bid for any of the 22 regional sports networks that Disney is divesting, the company said in an SEC filing.

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Disney is acquiring most of 21st Century Fox entertainment assets in a USD 71.3 billion deal but is required to sell off the Fox RSNs within 90 days of closing under a consent decree with the Department of Justice.

Fox was previously reported to be the leading contender to buy back the RSNs, but a variety of players had been cited as potentially interested buyers including Amazon, Major League Baseball, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tenga, and Nextstar, among others.

There was reportedly confusion in early bidding over whether the acquisition included digital rights to MLB games.

In late December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the New York Yankees were talking to Amazon and Sinclair about partnering on a bid for the remaining 80 percent stake of the YES network that the team doesn’t already own.

Amazon has been delving further into the sports world. Last year Amazon secured exclusive rights to live stream certain Premier League soccer matches in the U.K., on its Prime video service, as part of a three-year deal. It also renewed an exclusive partnership with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Sources told WSJ that Disney wants between USD 5 billion and USD 6 billion for the YES network.

Sinclair was said to be interested in a deal for all of the RSNs, and with Fox out of the running, it’s unclear if a piecemeal sale of various networks will happen instead.—ECN

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