The Walt Disney Company today issued a statement confirming that the company is ‘considering options’ for its ABC Network assets after news leaked that the company had preliminary meetings with NexStar Media Group.
The news broke when Bloomberg published an article stating that the meeting had taken place and quoting Tom Carter, advisor to NexStar CEO Perry Sook, hoping that Disney would firm up details on how the deal would be structured.
Disney CEO Bob Iger telegraphed that he was open to selling what he terms the company’s ‘linear’ assets in an interview this summer.
Interestingly, that news was buried under the comments that Iger made about the WGA and AFTRA strikes in Hollywood which received all the headlines.
NexStar is one of the largest local television and media companies in the United States, owning over 200 broadcast stations in 116 different markets.
The company has also begun to acquire content providers including last year’s acquisition of a majority share of The CW Network, and minority stakes in The Food Network.
The details of the Disney strategy are unclear at this point.
While the talks seem to be centered around ABC only at this point, Disney owns several other legacy networks such as FX, National Geographic Network, The Disney Network, A+E Network, Lifetime, and ESPN.
Iger’s comments lead insiders to believe that he is beginning to differentiate the company’s assets into linear media and streaming media and betting big on the latter.
Disney’s streaming platforms include the flagship Disney+ as well as Hulu, and ESPN+.
Disney and NexStar stock both rose when the story leaked.