Is Disney getting ready to sell ABC? A notable mogul has just put in a pricey bid that could take over one of Disney's biggest assets, but could it really happen?
Disney's relationship with TV networks has been interesting. They had a long connection with NBC with the original Wonderful World of Disney, which later moved to CBS. In 1995, Disney made the big move of buying ABC. Since then, there's been good synergy with ABC shows often having characters visiting the Disney parks and specials based on Disney movies and properties.
In the last few months, however, there have been rumors of Disney wanting to sell ABC off. The network is taking a hit as the ongoing strikes across Hollywood are holding off the usual fall TV season, forcing ABC to rely on reality TV and game shows.
Now, a big player has put in a bid as media mogul Byron Allen has put in a whopping $10 billion bid for ABC and some of its affiliated networks like FX and the National Geographic channel. He's not alone as Disney has also had talks with Nexstar, the media group that took over the CW.
This comes right after Disney had a huge row with Charter Spectrum Television that briefly led to Spectrum customers losing ESPN and still without the Disney-owned Freeform network. Bob Iger has stated there's a possibility Disney sells some assets off and ABC mentioned as a huge one.
Who could buy ABC?
So far, these are preliminary discussions, and Disney has not even confirmed they will sell ABC. Allen can be a good choice as the comedian has built Entertainment Studios into a powerful media company worth $4.5 billion. His own personal worth is about $800 million, meaning Allen would have to call in partners and some leverage to back up this $10 billion offer.
His experience running an entertainment company shows Allen might be able to help ABC. That's different from Nexstar as the company's acquisition of the CW resulted in the axing of about 90% of its scripted slate and a focus on reality TV and sports.
Disney selling ABC may seem baffling, except the networks have been hurting by the rise of streaming services. While Disney has been doing okay with Hulu and Disney+, they're not the numbers hoped for and not helped by raising subscriber costs.
As of now, Disney hasn't confirmed ABC is going to be sold, but dropping the network for a huge price would aid Disney's bottom line, always the final factor in such big deals. So, a change may be coming in ABC, no longer being an exclusive spot for Disney content.