Newsmax TV, the conservative, pro-Donald Trump television network whose ratings have lately jumped as its rivals leaned to the left, may be a takeover or acquisition target, the Wall Street Journal reported today.
The WSJ said that allies of President Trump have been looking for a vehicle to challenge Fox News, which some on the right believe is gradually moving away from conservatives. Whether Donald Trump himself would be involved if he fails in his bid to overturn the election results was not mentioned. However, Trump has long been rumored to be interested in his own conservative network platform.
The report indicates Hicks Equity Partners, a private-equity firm with ties to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has held talksabout acquiring and investing in Newsmax. The WSJ cited “people familiar with the matter,” and said any move would be part of a larger effort that could also include a streaming-video service.
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Newsmax has staunchly defended President Trump’s claims that the election was stolen, and has attracted a large contingent of Trump true believers frustrated with Fox.
How far along talks are for any Newsmax investment is unclear, the WSJ said.
President Trump has repeatedly praised Newsmax and the One America News Network for their support. He has also voiced concern about Fox moving away from his views, at least on the part of their news reporting.
Fox has led cable news network ratings for years, so any challenge is a formidable task. The WSJ reports Newsmax’s average prime-time audience jumped 156% to 223,000 viewers during the week of the election, according to Nielsen data, and last Thursday crossed one million from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., about half of Fox’s audience during the time period.
Newsmax Media Chief Executive Chris Ruddy told the WSJ that he has had many discussions with suitors over the years. “Newsmax never had any deal with the Hicks group, and if it’s true they were using our name for the purposes of capital fundraising, that is wholly inappropriate,” he said.
Fox Corp., which owns the WSJ, had no comment.