Nexstar Wants to Buy Disney’s ABC Stations





Earlier this year, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he would be open to selling off some of the company’s local ABC stations. Now Nexstar, the largest owner of local ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC stations, said it is open to buying them.

This comes as Nexstar has aggressively expanded its presence, most notably with the purchase of The CW network of stations. Nexstar is also looking at buying up some smaller local stations with a bid to get even bigger. A deal with Disney would help secure Nexstar as a leader in the world of local television and help it grow its business. Right now, Disney owns eight local ABC affiliates that Nexstar would love to get their hands on.

So what of concerns over the FCC blocking the deal?  “ABC’s portfolio of stations is modest,” said Tom Carter, who in August announced he was stepping down as president and chief operating officer and is now senior advisor to the CEO, during an investor conference hosted by Bank of America. “It’s only eight, largely in the top 10 markets. We’re in eight of the top 10 markets already with a CW station. We could buy a second station in that market and not increase our household footprint. 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 has confirmed that it is looking at the sale of parts of its business it doesn’t consider core. Many are looking at the local ABC affiliates Disney owns as an easy way for Disney to raise funds and offload some assets.

Nexstar-owned locals are currently dark on one of the largest TV providers DIRECTV. During the talk, Tom Carter said that progress is being made but no deal has been reached to bring back the channels. For now, though, no deal is expected any time soon to return Nexstar-owned ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC stations to DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse TV.

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