Allies of President Trump are seeking a buyout of One America News Network, a conservative cable news channel, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported on Friday that Hicks Equity Partners, an investment firm owned by the family of Republican National Committee chairman Thomas Hicks Jr., is courting other GOP donors to buy out OANN’s parent company, Herring Networks Inc. The Journal said the deal is valued at $250 million.
According to OAN’s website, the for-profit company was established in 2004 with primary production operations in California and Washington, D.C.
While it professes to be “a family owned and operated, independent media company,” OANN’s stories often align with White House talking points; on Friday the network posted a story about how Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani had been planning “imminent” attacks on four U.S. embassies — information that was not shared with Congress before the Trump-ordered strike that killed the general.
The site also posted other stories about a petition to recall California Democratic governor Gavin Newsom and Texas Republican governor Greg Abbott, rejecting new refugees into the state. Stories that don’t necessarily fit a conservative agenda — including a sex toy review from CES and praise of an Alibaba ad featuring a gay Chinese couple — also appeared on OANN, but were aggregated from Reuters.
The buyout report comes at a time when President Trump has been increasingly critical of Fox News and its coverage, despite the network being the home of some of his staunchest supporters.
In July, Trump chastised the cable news network after polls showed Democratic candidate Joe Biden beating Trump in his re-election bid. “So different from what they used to be during the 2016 Primaries, & before – Proud Warriors!,” Trump tweeted. “Now new Fox Polls, which have always been terrible to me (they had me losing BIG to Crooked Hillary), have me down to Sleepy Joe.”
In December, he blasted the network for interviewing former FBI director James Comey and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff during the height of the impeachment hearings. “Fox is trying sooo hard to be politically correct, and yet they were totally shut out from the failed Dem debates!” the tweet read.
Trump still posts favorable stories and soundbites from Fox News personalities and often calls into “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity,” and other shows. On Friday, Trump appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show to discuss Iran.
A spokesperson for Hicks Equity partners told the Journal that any interest in OANN is “purely business” and not political.
“Over the last 25 years, we have been active media investors. Any interest in OANN is from a purely business standpoint,” said Rick Newman, a partner at the investment firm.
In an email, OANN president Charles Herring said the company has seen an increase in suitors ahead of the upcoming election. “With the 2020 political season in full swing, expressed interest is on the rise,” he wrote. “Yet our family didn’t build our operations to sell it.”
OANN has only a fraction of Fox News’ audience and partially relies upon monthly subscriptions to their Facebook feed.
OANN did not return TheWrap’s request for comment.