Report: Sinclair to buy Disney’s 21 regional sports networks for $10B [Updated]

TV broadcasting company Sinclair will buy 21st Century Fox’s 21 regional sports networks from Disney for $10 billion, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Sinclair was one of several bidding for the sports networks, which had also seen interest from Liberty Media, MLB and Big 3 Basketball LLC. Sinclair came out on top thanks to its mostly cash deal, according to a report last week from Fox Business, crediting unknown sources.

The earlier report also pegged the deal price of $10 billion.

Disney had come to own the regional sports networks by way of its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox, which closed in March. That acquisition gave it more movies, TV and IP, including film titles like “The Shape of Water,” “Avatar” and “Deadpool,” TV shows like “The Simpsons” and “Atlanta” and majority ownership of Hulu.

The company agreed to sell off the sports networks in order to win government approval for the Fox deal.

Separate from the new deal with Sinclair, Disney sold off the YES Network, the most prominent of the 22 regional sports networks it was looking to unload. The buying group, which included the New York Yankees, Amazon, as well as Sinclair, had agreed to pay $3.5 billion for the network, according to other media reports.

The WSJ confirmed this as well, noting the deal hadn’t been finalized.

The new agreement with Sinclair will see it acquiring other major sports networks, including channels in L.A. and Detroit.

The deal is expected to be announced today.

Update: The deal was confirmed by Disney on May 3.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company announced that entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. The transaction values the networks at $10.6 billion, reflecting a purchase price of $9.6 billion, after adjusting for minority equity interests. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice, Disney said.