Fox Is Said to Decide Not to Bid for Nexstar TV Stations

(Bloomberg) -- Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has decided not to bid for a group of television stations being sold by Nexstar Media Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the situation.

The company, which will be spun out of a separate deal with Walt Disney Co. next week, is focusing instead on getting better terms on the deals it has with affiliate stations, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Unlike other bidders, Fox owns the rights to popular programming like NFL games, giving the company clout in negotiations with station owners.

With Fox out, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar will be evaluating other bidders for the roughly 16 stations, located in cities such as Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington. Other suitors include Tegna Inc., E.W. Scripps Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC, people familiar with the matter have said.

The seller needs to dispose of the assets, about five of which are Fox affiliates, to complete its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co.

Once that takeover is complete, Fox will need to consent to the transfer of its affiliates to a new owner. And Nexstar will need to renew some 50 Fox affiliate agreements within the next year. That puts the Murdoch-controlled media company in a strong position to secure better terms from the parties.

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