Byron Allen, CEO of Allen Media Group, believes he’s the right suitor for Disney’s ABC assets because his company is the only one that would pass muster with regulators.
“We’re the the best ones to get the deal done,” he said during an interview with CNBC (watch the full interview here).
Allen, whose company made a $10 billion unsolicited bid to buy the ABC network, eight affiliate stations, FX and National Geographic, said that he is ready and willing to make a deal. But he added that Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that he’s not ready to sell the assets yet.
“If Disney is willing to sell it, we just want to make it very clear that we’re willing to buy it,” he said.
The comments come as Disney is under pressure to make big changes. The company’s big bet on streaming with Disney+ hasn’t paid off as expected, and it’s feeling the pressure on the traditional pay-TV side as more consumers cut the cord. Iger had said earlier this summer that those businesses “may not be core to Disney,” opening the door to potential deals.
Around the same time, Nexstar, the largest owner of broadcast stations, expressed interest in the ABC assets as well.
But Allen, whose company AMG owns The Weather Channel, Local Now, 36 affiliate stations and more, said he is in the best position to get a deal approved.
The technology companies are under heavy scrutiny and likely won’t make a move. “Tech companies can’t buy a lemonade stand,” he said.
The media companies are too big to do it, and regulators likely won’t support private equity and hedge funds buying the assets because of the importance to their communities. “Local news is very important,” he added.
AMG is an owner/operator of TV stations already, and he noted they’ve seen success and growth under his leadership.
It’s not the first deal AMG tried to set up. The company also sought to buy BET from Paramount for nearly $3 billion, but the media giant declined to sell. When asked about other acquisitions, he said that he sees future assets coming up, especially as media companies seek to raises cash to fund their streaming efforts.
As for Disney, Allen conceded that Disney may never be ready to sell. He’s made it clear he’s willing to make a deal if the company changes its mind.
“If they are serious about doing it, we’re ready to go,” he said.