Disney says no decision has been made on whether to sell ABC – The Hollywood Reporter

The Walt Disney Co. said in a statement Thursday that it was “open to exploring various strategic options for our linear businesses,” but denied a report that it was in active discussions to sell its ABC broadcast network and its ABC station is located.

“At this time, The Walt Disney Company has not made a decision regarding the divestiture of ABC or other assets and any reports thereof are without merit,” the statement continued.

The statement followed a Bloomberg report Accordingly, Disney has held “initial” discussions about selling ABC and its local channels to Nexstar, the local television giant and owner of The CW.

The Bloomberg story and the subsequent Disney backlash came after Tom Carter, a former Nexstar executive and current adviser to the company, told a Bank of America conference on Wednesday that Nexstar could buy them with “low friction.” , if Disney’s ABC channels became available. ”

“We think there could be some opportunities depending on how things turn out,” Carter added.

Disney CEO Bob Iger stirred up the merger and acquisition rumor mill in July when he told CNBC that Disney’s linear TV channels, including ABC, “may no longer be core to the company’s business” and the distribution model as called “broken”.

“Transformative work is about non-growth companies and what to do with them, particularly linear business, which we’re thinking about broadly,” Iger told CNBC.

He then hired former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs to advise the company on its linear TV options.

Of course, Disney’s recent carriage deal with Charter Communications has the potential to change the company’s thinking on the matter. The cable company touted a new model that could “stabilize” the pay-TV ecosystem by making Disney+ available to Spectrum TV customers.

It’s not clear how a sale of ABC or Disney’s other linear networks might affect this agreement if such a deal goes through.

Brian Ashcraft

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