Tom Carter, a longtime former Nexstar exec who’s now a senior advisor to the CEO and board of administrators, says the corporate might purchase Disney’s native ABC TV stations with “little friction” in the event that they turn into out there.

Disney CEO Bob Iger spurred speak of a possible sale of the eight stations over the summer time when he mentioned a few of the firm’s linear TV holdings “is probably not core” to the corporate sooner or later. Personal fairness corporations are amongst these placing out feelers, given their sizable investments in native TV in recent times. Nexstar is a poster baby for development by M&A, with Carter estimating that the corporate pulled off about 40 acquisitions in his first 10 years on the firm. Multi-billion-dollar offers for Media Normal and Tribune Media vaulted what had been a boutique Texas agency twenty years in the past to the No. 1 spot amongst all U.S. station homeowners, and final fall it confirmed its urge for food once more by taking a majority stake in The CW.

“We expect there might be some alternatives relying on how issues fall out,” Carter mentioned of the ABC state of affairs at an investor convention in New York hosted by BofA Securities. The previous president and COO, who segued to his advisory function final month, appeared alongside Nexstar CFO Lee Ann Gliha.

Requested about investigations by Paramount International and Disney of strategic choices for his or her linear TV belongings, Carter centered on the latter. “Disney had talked about it this manner: ‘Let’s morph right into a GrowthCo and a SustainableCo,’” he mentioned, referring to the media firm’s outlook throughout Iger’s second stint as CEO. “The one difficulty is, the SustainCo is funding the GrowthCo, and when you promote one, you’ve misplaced entry to that money move. Granted, you’re going to have proceeds, however is that basically what you wish to do?”

If the reply to that query finally ends up being “sure,” Carter mentioned, then Nexstar could be a robust candidate to take over the stations. Given the “large” money move advantages ensuing from previous offers, “I believe you’ll see us check out it,” the exec added, although one potential complication could be programming overlaps. “You’re seeing ESPN simulcast a big portion of their sports activities telecasts on ABC. For those who have been to purchase the ABC advanced, how would that work going ahead? There are loads of questions that have to be answered.”

Requested in regards to the FCC’s 39% cap on station possession by one firm, Carter acknowledged that the corporate is already at that restrict. “However that may not preclude us from shopping for stations,” he mentioned. “ABC’s portfolio of stations is modest. It’s solely eight, largely within the prime 10 markets. We’re in eight of the highest 10 markets already with a CW station. We might purchase a second station in that market and never improve our family footprint. There could also be a number of stations that may require divestiture of both a Nexstar station or an ABC station, however we might onboard these with comparatively little friction.”

Serving to gasoline Nexstar’s acquisitions spree has been an enviable stability sheet, which has had a substantial amount of money on the books and little debt, a uncommon combo within the media enterprise. Carter centered his feedback on the ABC stations, which is Nexstar’s core competency. Whereas it has run The CW for the previous yr, that broadcast community is a much smaller operation than ABC, and it’s not clear whether or not ABC’s mom ship could be among the many linear belongings Iger views as probably “non-core.” House owners of all broadcast networks have been taking ever-closer seems at their operations given the stresses that have been mounting even earlier than twin strikes emerged to jeopardize the whole 2023-24 season.

After a second or two handed and the dialog was about to maneuver on, Carter added a closing tag to his Disney observations. “I don’t know if there’s a deal to be completed there,” he mentioned. “I believe they’ve bought to be a bit clearer in their very own fascinated about how that goes. We are able to take route however we’re not essentially on the market leaning into these things and not using a clear path.”

Carter additionally shared an replace on a protracted carriage dispute with DirecTV that has seen Nexstar stations stay darkish for about 10 million prospects of the satellite tv for pc TV operator. The deadlock started in July, and over the primary month, “there wasn’t loads of motion occurring,” Carter mentioned. In latest weeks, nevertheless, “we’ve been in fairly fixed contact” with DirecTV, he mentioned, with out going into specifics. “Progress has been made. We’re not going to do a foul deal. However our expectation is that we’re going to achieve an settlement sooner or later, hopefully sooner slightly than later, as a result of everybody agrees that it’s not in anybody’s greatest curiosity to alienate the buyer.”

On the carriage entrance, Carter and Gliha have been requested for his or her takeaways from Constitution’s intently watched renewal with Disney. “The end result is nice for us,” Gliha mentioned, on condition that it preserves foundational components of the pay-TV bundle. Carter agreed, saying of fellow stakeholders in pay-TV, “We’re placing the band again collectively.” By integrating streaming companies with different channel choices, as known as for within the Spectrum-Disney deal, “We’re recreating the bundle by bringing Disney+ again into the pay-television ecosystem and never strictly as a DTC product. So, one of many potential advantages of the Constitution-Disney deal is that it might probably reduce subscriber attrition going ahead, as a result of there’s much less motive for purchasers to go away the bundle.”