Disney’s ESPN Could Be Valued At $24 Billion, Likely Buyers Include Apple, Verizon: BoFA

by Business 02 November 2023

Disney's ESPN Could Be Valued At $24 Billion

ESPN, the sports network by Disney, may secure an enterprise value of $24 billion and may attract investment interest from the sports leagues, which includes tech giants like Apple and telecom organizations like Verizon, as per the BoFA Global Research.

In their bid to pull in an outside investor, the financials of ESPN revealed that their declining sales and profit at the network are one of the crown elements of the traditional TV business.

Bob Iger, the CEO, said, “Disney wants to keep ESPN and will try to create a streaming app for it by either forming a joint venture or finding a buyer for a minority stake in the network.”

This would mean that a 36% interest in ESPN would possibly be up for sale, assuming that Disney is intending to retain the 51% majority interest and accounting for the media organization Hearst’s 20% stake, Jessica Reif Ehrlich, a BoFA analyst, wrote in her note which was published on Wednesday.

Interested pirates may include the leagues like the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, while newcomers like Amazon.com and Apple, who are jostling to dive into live sports, and distributions like Comcast and Verizon, the note added.

Disney would be profiting a lot from this deal as an increase in capital would mean that ESPN might be able to strengthen what it has to offer, keeping the spin-off option open and helping the network channel to focus on the high growth of streaming.

The rise in cord cutting has touched the linear TV business, while acquiring sports rights has turned to be an increasingly expensive business, with the sports rights future expected to be worth $69 billion.

“Benefits to prospective buyers, however, appear “nebulous,” BoFA added. “ESPN is still a strong business and a premier brand, but it sits at the nexus of possible major business transformation. Transitions have historically proven difficult and typically not conducive to significant growth,” it further added.

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