Paxson in play

April 10, 2005

As reports circulate that Paxson Communications has filed a court appeal over the FCC’s denial of multicast cable must-carry, a television comedian is making a play to take over the company.

CEO Bud Paxson has long fought to have the FCC require cable companies to carry all of the programming that TV stations can offer. Such a ruling, a long shot after the recent FCC decision, would have vastly increased the value of Paxson’s 60 television stations.

Comedian Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios is now “aggressively pursuing” a $2.2 billion takeover of Paxson Communications and its family-oriented PAX television network. Television Week first reported the takeover attempt last week.

The potential bid comes about three weeks after Paxson dropped its investment bankers and pulled itself off the block following a two-year search for a buyer.

A spokeswoman for Paxson told the Associated Press that the company was aware of Allen’s interest. She declined to comment further.

Allen, the former co-host of the hit 1980’s show Real People, said he had had preliminary discussions with Paxson as well as talks with an investment bank and several private-equity firms about putting together a deal.

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