Mogul Byron Allen makes $10 billion bid for Disney's ABC, other networks

By Dawn Chmielewski, Kanjyik Ghosh and Dimpal Gulwani

(Reuters) -Media entrepreneur Byron Allen has made a $10 billion bid to buy Walt Disney's ABC television network and assets including the FX and National Geographic cable channels, a spokesperson for Allen said on Friday.

Disney has also held exploratory discussions about selling ABC to regional TV station operator Nexstar Media, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The discussions come after Disney CEO Bob Iger said in July the company could sell some of its traditional TV assets, which have struggled for years due to the rise of streaming services.

Nexstar's interest is preliminary and may not lead to any deal, one source said. Both sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential.

A Disney spokesperson said while the company was "open to considering strategic options for its linear business", it has not made a decision yet on selling ABC or any other property.

Nexstar and Disney did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News first reported the Nexstar-Disney talks and Allen's bid for ABC.

ABC comprises a national TV network and eight regional stations. It has affiliation agreements with about 240 local television stations reaching almost all U.S. television households.

Disney's then-Chief Executive Michael Eisner agreed to buy Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion in 1995.

Nexstar has 200 owned or partner stations in 116 markets, reaching over two-thirds of the U.S. population, as well as national TV networks such as CW and NewsNation. It has a market value of $5.25 billion.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Akash Sriram, Dimpal Gulwani and Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Josie Kao and William Mallard)