So says the Wall Street Journal, which Friday broke a story attributed to “people familiar with the matter.”
The Journal’s Juliet Chung, Corrie Driebusch and Rebecca Ballhaus reported: “The investment firm Hicks Equity Partners is looking to acquire the channel and is pitching other wealthy GOP donors to arrange a bid of roughly $250 million for the channel’s parent company, the people said.”
Hicks Equity Partners is owned by the family of Thomas Hicks Jr., co-chairman of the Republican National Committee and a close friend of Donald Trump Jr., the paper said.
The potential purchase comes as OAN shows and hosts defend Trump in his impeachment fight and its parent company is suing MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
In September, The San Diego Union-Tribune called OAN “blatantly pro-Trump” and noted the president’s praise of the network.
The Journal said OAN President Charles Herring, responding via email, suggested the network has become “a reliable news source for a national audience,” and the company has been pursued by potential buyers in the past.
“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.”
OAN has limited reach, however, but possible investors have been told a new owner could boost its audience by striking carriage deals with additional pay-TV companies, the Journal said.
(The U-T reported: “The channel is available in some 35 million households, according to Herring. That’s less than a third of the roughly 119 million TV households in the U.S., as estimated by ratings giant Nielsen.”)
“The Hicks firm would bring in new management and offer coverage that caters to viewers whose political outlook is in the center and right-of-center, segments it views as underserved, the people familiar with the matter said,” according to the Journal.
The national business paper has its A-team on the story, including reporter Ballhaus, who won a Pulitzer Prize for detailing hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.