Amazon has reportedly placed its first round of bid for Disney’s 22 regional sports networks.
Disney had acquired those networks from 21st Century Fox earlier this year as part of a $71.3 billion deal. And now, it might be preparing to divest some of the assets - as Amazon alongwith several private equity firms like Apollo Global Management, KKR, Blackstone and broadcast-TV companies Tegna and Sinclair participated in the first round of bidding for the regional networks that include the YES Network (which broadcasts New York Yankees games) and other networks showing live regional games of the Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, as reported by CNBC, citing sources familiar with the bidding process.
What’s more, Fox itself might be willing to buy back those 22 regional sports networks from Disney, as indicated by Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch earlier this month. However, the media giant has not submitted any bid yet.
With so many players reportedly interested in Disney’s regional sports networks, the bidding war could only heat up – something that could push up the prices of the entertainment assets. Also, if the bidding indeed leads to a change of hands for the sports networks, it could potentially beget an increased competition in the media/entertainment business - a sector already witnessing a tug of war between traditional cable TV networks and fast-growing online streaming providers like Amazon.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, CNBC mentions that second-round bids for the 22 networks are due before the end of the year.