Sinclair ‘favourites’ to buy Disney-headed RSNs after Fox pulls out

The Fox regional sports networks (RSNs) saga took another twist on Friday when it emerged that 21st Century Fox has pulled out of the running to buy them back from Disney.

Disney must divest the RSNs as a condition of getting approval from the US Department of Justice for its $71.3bn (€62.2bn) Fox asset takeover.

The 22 RSNs, which have 61 million subscribers and show live games from 44 professional sports teams in the US, are estimated to be worth around $20bn.

It was reported that Fox pulled out of the running as it does not see RSNs as a fast-growth business and has been put off by an “over-exposed” sales process.

According to CNBC, Sinclair Broadcast Group is the favourite to buy the RSNs, while Amazon, Tegna, Major League Baseball and a group fronted by Ice Cube are among those who have expressed interest. The New York Yankees are still looking to buy the YES network.

A sale must be completed within 90 days of the Disney-Fox deal’s closing, which is expected in the first quarter of 2019. A second round of RSN bids is due this month.