Trump Allies Acquire Cable Networks in Family-Friendly TV Push

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An investor group led by Hicks Equity Partners, a firm with links to the Republican National Committee and the Trumps, is snapping up cable channels in a bid to create a family-friendly TV empire.

The buyers, calling themselves GAC Media, announced the acquisition of Great American Country from Discovery Inc. on Monday. The network, which is available in about 40 million homes, sold for about $90 million, according to a person familiar with the situation. GAC Media also acquired Ride TV, a 24-hour channel dedicated to equestrian sports.

The effort is backed by the private equity arm of the Hicks family business and will be run by cable-TV veteran Bill Abbott. Previously, Abbott was president and chief executive officer of Crown Media, which owns the Hallmark Channel.

Hicks Equity Partners had been trying to buy right-leaning cable news channels Newsmax TV or One America News Network in an effort to create a stronger competitor to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal reported last year. Thomas Hicks Jr. is co-chair of the Republican National Committee and friends with Donald Trump Jr.

GAC Media isn’t expected to change either channel’s programming to focus on political commentary, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

For Discovery, the sale is part of an effort to focus on the company’s bigger cable channels and explore options for its less-watched ones, according to the person. Discovery, which is slated to merge with WarnerMedia next year, plans to turn its DIY Network into the Magnolia Network. The company also owns smaller networks like Discovery Life, Destination America and the American Heroes Channel.

The Hallmark Channel is perhaps best known for its annual marathon of Christmas movies. Abbott left in January 2020 after a controversy over the Hallmark Channel removing commercials featuring a same-sex wedding. The network later reversed its decision and apologized.

Abbott’s job will be to review “additional content opportunities” and help increase advertising and distribution for both channels, according to a statement.

“We look forward to growing both channels even as we pursue the larger goal of establishing new, well-resourced and engaging family-friendly programming,” Abbott said.

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