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TV station giant Sinclair Broadcast Group has completed its $10.6 billion deal to acquire 21 regional Fox Sports networks that Walt Disney agreed to sell to get regulatory approval for its $71.3 billion acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox.
After adjusting for minority interests, Sinclair said the aggregate purchase price for the RSNs is $9.6 billion. Sinclair picked up the sport network properties via a newly formed, indirect wholly owned subsidiary called Diamond Sports Group, in which Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen becomes an equity and content partner.
The acquisition will make Sinclair, based in the Baltimore, Maryland, and a major provider of news, a big player in sports cable programming. Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley in a statement said, “We are very excited about the transformational aspects the RSN acquisition will have on Sinclair, and are eager to bring those opportunities to life.”
Among the sports channels it is buying are Fox Sports West in Los Angeles and Fox Sports San Diego. Sinclair owns, operates and/or provides services to 191 TV stations in 89 U.S. markets.
The RSN portfolio gives Sinclair the exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams, comprising 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL pro hockey teams.
The Sinclair deal for the RSNs received the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice after Disney similarly secured regulatory approval to acquire certain assets of 21st Century Fox if it spun off the RSNs.
Regulators argued Disney’s ownership of ESPN and the regional channels would give the Hollywood conglomerate too much power in the sports TV sector, requiring it to sell the regional networks.
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