Smaller Media Deals May Be In The Works

Are there big media deals to come? Maybe deals with a small "d." Or what some would call a time out.

This time a year ago, some big stuff was in the works: Fox agreed to sell about half of its movie/TV business to Walt Disney for $71.3 billion. At the same time, AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal for Time Warner was in flux; eventually approved mid-year 2018.

Later in the year, Comcast Corp. won its battle to buy European broadcaster Sky with a $38.8 billion bid at auction.

Currently, some medium-sized deals are in the works. They are relatively tiny compared to the big ones of a year ago: Tribune Media (valued about $4 billion); Fox’s 22 regional sports networks (valued around $20 billion); and 14 Cox TV stations ($2.5 billion).

The latest reports suggest medium-size TV station group Northwest Broadcasting is teaming with buyout firm Apollo Global management to take a shot at acquiring Tribune Media. Other rumors suggest bigger TV station group Nexstar Media Group might make a bid. as well.



And if Nexstar fails with Tribune, it could go after the Cox outlets.

At the same time, Major League Baseball looks to amp up its TV assets by buying Fox’s regional sports networks. Another possible suitor would be Amazon and Fox — buying back its RSNs, part of its overall yet-to-be completed $71.3 billion Walt Disney deal.

Of course, the ongoing drama around a CBS-Viacom recombination lingers, especially now that Les Moonves is out as CBS chairman-CEO.

And what’s going on with Dish Network? That pay TV provider seems to be the odd man out when it comes to future big media combinations, struggling with continued subscriber declines at its traditional satellite service and a slower growth at Sling TV, its virtual/digital pay TV service.

Digital deals? Big cash-flow pockets of Google, Facebook and Amazon are powerful tools to gobble up mid-size digital media concerns, and maybe bigger traditional TV media. What about other worthy social-media platforms? There’s Twitter, which has a market capitalization of $24 billion, and Snap, with $8.3 billion.

The basis question: Will there be more media consolidation, disruption or confusion? Maybe media relaxation should be considered now. Save your energy. The final minutes of this game will follow.

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