Media mogul Byron Allen’s empire keeps getting bigger. The former comedian and Entertainment Studios founder joined forces with Sinclair Broadcast Group to secure a massive acquisition of 21 Fox regional sports networks valued at $10 billion, Black Enterprise reports.
The business deal means that Allen outbid Ice Cube, LL Cool J and other potential buyers looking to snatch up the nearly two dozen networks that were up for grabs.
Additionally, Allen’s Entertainment Studios will shell out $165 million to purchase four small-market television stations in Louisiana and Indiana from Bayou City Broadcasting.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Allen explained that he reached out to Disney after the company put the stations up for sale. “When the assets became available this summer I reached out to Disney and said that we have interest, and they put us in touch with their investment bankers and we started to get into it.”
Entertainment Studios also wanted to purchase Tribune Broadcasting, but was bested by another company. “We turned our attention to what’s next,” Allen said while sharing his admiration for Fox News founder and billionaire media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, who sold Fox to Disney. Allen noted the RSN stations as Murdoch’s “best work.”
Allen’s company also purchased the Weathers Channel last year. “There’s a lot we can do with the Weather Channel and these RSNs in terms of documentaries and biographies and who knows, even sports leagues,” he said. “You never know.”
Allen added, “My goal is to build the biggest media company in the world. Everyday that’s what I’m striving for.”
The business relationship between Allen and Sinclair dates back decades as the company was one of the first buyers of his late night talk show Entertainers with Byron Allen. The 58-year-old executive has come a long way since he launched Entertainment Studios more than 20 years ago.
“I started the company from my dining room table 26 years ago and I could barely pay my phone bill,” Allen recalled. “There were days [that] they turned off my phone, and days I didn’t eat. There were days that I was calling TV stations from a payphone and we just kept plugging away. Finally we kept selling show after show and we ended up with about 43 television shows.”
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