Saturday, April 20, 2019

Report: Sinclair Appears To Have Inside Track For Fox RSNs

Sinclair Broadcasting appears to have emerged as the leading candidate to win the auction of the 21st Century Fox’s Regional Sports Networks Opens a New Window. , having placed what people close to the deal call the top bid to acquire the properties, FOX Business is reporting.

The auction, which began in November, came to an end earlier in the week, when bankers at Allen & Co., accepted final bids from several companies including: Liberty Media, the BIG3 basketball league led by hip-hop impresario Ice Cube, and Sinclair, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Major League Baseball had been a solo bidder on the networks, known as RSNs, but recently pulled out and joined cable honcho John Malone’s Liberty Media in the bidding war, these people say.

Sinclair is said to have bid around $10 billion for the RSNs, which must be sold as part of Disney’s $71 billion purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets to meet federal regulatory requirements since Disney already owns the cable sports network giant, ESPN. The RSNs are a group of cable networks that provide a variety of sports broadcasting throughout the country.

Bankers are said to have determined late Friday that Sinclair had the leading bid at least for the moment, though it’s unclear if they will be declared the official winner of the six-month bidding process. Sources add that bankers are continuing to work the deal heading into the Easter and Passover holiday weekend, looking for a better offer from other bidders, so it’s possible another player could step up with a higher price.

People close to the deal say the winner is likely to be announced in the coming days.

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