Disney may not be so eager to sell its ABC stations after all.
The company issued a statement denying that there are talks with Nexstar about the sale of its eight ABC affiliate stations.
“While we are open to considering a variety of strategic options for our linear businesses, at this time The Walt Disney Company has made no decision with respect to the divestiture of ABC or any other property and any report to that effect is unfounded,” the company said in a statement on its site.
The statement was in response to rumors that Nexstar was circling the affiliates for its portfolio of local broadcast stations. Nexstar executive Tom Carter, who in August stepped down as president and chief operating officer and is now an advisor to the CEO, told an audience at an investor conference that a deal was conceivable.
“ABC’s portfolio of stations is modest,” he said. “There may be a few stations that would require divestiture of either a Nexstar station or an ABC station, but we could onboard those with relatively little friction.”
Disney had previously said it was looking at divesting parts of the business that it doesn’t consider core. But it has said specifically that it would sell its ABC stations.
The reports that Nexstar and Disney were considering a deal come a day after National Association of Broadcasters CEO Curtis LeGert spoke before congress and advocated for fewer restrictions on the ownership of local stations.
Nexstar declined to comment.