David Zaslav Says Discovery Probably Won’t Bid on Fox RSNs: ‘Those Businesses Can Be Dicey’

“Unless it was a great deal, you wouldn’t see us in there,” Discovery president and CEO tells Wall Street

David Zaslav

Don’t expect those Fox regional sports networks (RSNs) to follow the Scripps channels under Discovery’s umbrella. Discovery, Inc. chief David Zaslav (mostly) shut that idea down on Thursday morning, saying, “Those businesses can be dicey.”

“Outside of the U.S., we like our European position as a leader — but we think we’re late here,” he said when asked about the stateside Fox RSNs which Disney has to unload. “Those businesses can be dicey.”

“I was involved in those businesses with Bob Wright and Chuck Dolan in the early days, and they really have to do with how long you own that I.P. for,” Zaslav continued. “And I think in many cases [Fox was] on the top of the heap in terms of what they were able to generate.”

“Unless it was a great deal, you wouldn’t see us in there,” he added.

Disney, which is set to acquire most of 21st Century Fox’s assets — including 22 RSNs — must unload the regional sports networks, per the U.S. Department of Justice. Disney will have at least 90 days from the close of the Fox transaction to complete the RSN selloff, though the company could get a DOJ extension on that timeline.

Zaslav made the comments about Fox’s RSNs on Discovery’s third-quarter 2018 earnings conference call, which draws investors, media-company analysts and the press. Read about Discovery’s Q3 earnings here — they were a mixed bag, but company stock (DISCA) is having a very good morning: