The new Fox Corp. will not be among the bidders when Disney auctions off the 22 regional sports networks it is acquiring from 21st Century Fox, Variety reports.
“Fox confirmed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday that it ‘does not intend’ to make a run at any of the RSNs about to change hands,” Variety reports, adding: “The Disney-21st Century Fox transaction is expected to close by early March. Disney has to sell the local cablers to comply with the terms of the agreement it reached last year with the Justice Department clearing the way for the $71.3 billion transaction.”
As we reported previously, some observers had speculated that the new Fox, which will emerge when the Disney deal closes, would buy back the RSNs.
“The RSNs were valued at about $20 billion in the terms of the Disney-21st Century Fox transaction,” Variety notes. “It’s still unclear how robust the market is for Disney’s mandated sale process. RSNs have become a lightning rod in the pay-TV arena because they command high per subscriber fees, driving up MVPD bills. But long-term there’s also concern about whether RSNs will be able to hang on to local sports rights as deep-pocketed digital giants barrel into the premium video business.”