Media mogul Byron Allen confirmed reports that he made an offer to Disney to acquire their linear television networks for $10 billion. Speaking to CNBC’s Julia Borstein at Vox Media’s annual Code conference, Allen explained his offer to Disney, saying that he has “plenty of access” to the capital required for the offer and that he has a defined plan to succeed with Disney’s cable properties, including ABC, FX, National Geographic, and a stable of local stations.
According to Allen, the current sticking point is that Disney’s Bob Iger is “not ready” despite public pronouncements that these channels “might not be core” to Disney’s future. Headwinds in the acquisition market are also concerns, including government regulators at the Federal Trade Commission. Allen explained that having a “certainty of close” would be key to the two companies proceeding with the deal.
Allen also gave his opinion on the challenges Disney is facing with their overall business. While he praised Iger by saying that there was “no one better’ to handle his company’s current challenges, he said that Disney is trying to pull off a series of difficult tasks, especially their transition to streaming. “It’s like they’re trying to build a new airplane mid-air while they’re flying their old airplane, in a publicly traded entity,” said Allen. “This is a very challenging thing to accomplish.”
Virtually all major areas of Disney’s business are currently in decline, with the company’s stock trading at its lowest levels in years. Meanwhile, Disney will soon be required to make a decision whether to buy Comcast’s 1/3 share of Hulu, at a price of $8 billion or more, which would put more financial stress on the company’s balance sheet in the hopes of success in streaming.