Amazon is bidding for all 22 of the regional sports TV networks that Disney acquired from 21st Century FOX, CNBC's David Faber reports.
Apollo, KKR, Blackstone, Sinclair and Tenga also made initial bids for the full slate of networks, per CNBC.
Disney, which also owns ESPN and its family of sports networks, agreed to sell FOX's 22 regional sports networks in order to obtain approval for its massive acquisition of a collection of 21st Century FOX assets. The DOJ approved the deal in the summer after Disney agreed to sell the sports networks so they do not have too much control over local sports markets across the country.
“American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and FOX’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement. “Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and FOX compete for cable and satellite distribution.”
The networks include the YES Network (the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network), which Blackstone and the Yankees themselves are bidding on. FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket and FOX Sports Ohio/SportsTime Ohio are also among the regional networks involved in the sale.
CNBC added that due diligence on the first round bids begins next week, before a second round is expected by year-end. Disney has 90 days from closing date of acquiring the FOX assets to sell the networks, per their agreement with the DOJ.