Bob Chapek, CEO of Walt Disney
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Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek said Thursday that the company’s sports network ESPN is looking for a partner to help it step into sports gambling.
“We at ESPN have the ability to do that. Now we’re going to need a partner to do that, because we’re never going to be a book, that’s never in the cards for the Walt Disney Company,” Chapek told CNBC’s David Faber said in an exclusive interview. “But at the same time, to be able to partner with a well-respected third party can do that for us.”
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The comments come after activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point recently took a new stake in Disney during the second quarter, valued at about $1 billion, or 0.4% of the company.
Initially, Loeb pushed for Disney to spin out the sports property. But on Sunday Loeb reversed his position, saying on Twitter, “We have a better understanding of @espn’s potential as a standalone business and another vertical for $DIS to reach a global audience to generate ad and subscriber revenues.”
Sports betting was at the core of Loeb’s earlier push to spin off ESPN.