Will Smith and Magic Johnson Join LL Cool J and Ice Cube’s Effort to Buy Sports Stations
Will Smith and Magic Johnson are joining a bidding group with LL Cool J and Ice Cube in their efforts to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. Longtime Beat readers will recall that the Justice Department is forcing Disney to sell following their $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Officials said that since Disney is the majority owner of ESPN, they probably shouldn't be permitted to control as many as 22 sports stations, as they would essentially have monopolized the whole market by that point. The two hip-hop artists and business moguls teamed up with billionaire Carolyn Rafaelian last year, giving them a huge advantage other bidders -- Apollo Global Management and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The deal for all 22 stations is expected to reach as low as $15 billion and as high as $25 billion. Ice Cube is trying to buy the regional sports networks through his 3-on-3 basketball league, Big3. We told you earlier this month that Johnson stepped down from his post as President of the Lakers abruptly. The LA Times reports that Disney has to sell the networks within 90 days of the Fox deal’s completion on March 19th. Disney just received its final-round bids for the networks. The offers -- amounting to more than $10 billion -- were submitted by Big3, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. More here.