Murdoch 'close to acquiring US TV stations from Sinclair'
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is reported to be close to acquiring a group of US television stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group, as Fox bids to control more stations in local sports markets.
The group of eight to 10 stations includes those in Seattle and Denver, homes of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.
Sinclair is planning to sell some stations to enable it to win approval for its plan to acquire Tribune Media, the Chicago-based television station group, in a deal worth $3.9 billion.
Last month, Walt Disney, the US media and entertainment giant, agreed a mammoth $66.1-billion deal to acquire key parts of 21st Century Fox, including Fox’s movie and television studios, Star India, the burgeoning Indian pay-television broadcaster, and stakes in Sky, the UK-based European subscription broadcaster, and the Hulu streaming service.
Disney is to pay $52.4 billion in stock and assume $13.7 billion in debt to buy the Fox assets.
However, the 86-year-old Murdoch and his family will retain control of US operations including the main Fox network, the Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 channels and cable outlets such as the Spanish-language Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, the sports channel that is a joint venture with US college sports’ Big Ten Conference, all of which will be spun off into a new public company.
Murdoch wants the slimmed-down Fox to focus on news, sports and live programming.