Fox Could Boost Station Ownership

The new 21st Century Fox could add to its TV station portfolio after its deal to sell most of its assets to The Walt Disney Co. is completed, executive chairman Rupert Murdoch told analysts Thursday.

“As far as the stations, there will be opportunities, it will depend on the price,” Murdoch said on a conference call with analysts. “If we had more it would give us greater strength in getting clearances.“

Read More: The Disney-Fox Deal

Fox agreed to sell its 20th Century Fox movie and TV studios, cable networks FX, FXX and National Geographic, 22 regional sports networks, its 30% interest in Hulu and its 39% interest in European satellite TV company Sky for $52.4 billion in Disney stock. Fox will retain its broadcast network and owned and operated TV stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, which will be spun to shareholders prior to he deal closing to ease the tax burden.

Fox already owns 28 TV stations in 17 markets, comprising 37% of U.S. television homes. This includes seven duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Houston; as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Charlotte.

Related: Meredith Could Eye More Stations After Time Deal

Fox's biggest affiliate group for non-owned stations is Sinclair Broadcast Group, soon to have an even bigger concentration of Fox stations after it completes the $3.9-billion acquisition of Tribune Media's TV stations. Five Sinclair stations renewed pacts with Fox this past August.