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Disney, Univision Said to Discuss English Cable News Channel

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Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co., owner of the ABC broadcast network, is in talks with Univision Communications Inc. to create an English-language 24-hour cable-news channel, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, would oversee advertising sales and distribution for the venture, said the people, who sought anonymity because an agreement hasn’t been reached. The channel would draw newsgathering resources from ABC News and Univision, the largest U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, they said.

The discussions have been under way for at least six months and are ongoing, said the people. The channel would be based in Miami and start service before the November presidential election, they said.

A venture would provide Disney, which reports first-quarter results today after markets close, with a cable-news presence, and advance Univision Chief Executive Officer Randy Falco’s goal of building new channels. Falco is interested in starting English-language service in sports and news, he told the Wall Street Journal in October.

Closely held Univision, based in New York, is starting a Spanish-language telenovela network this month on Dish Network Corp.’s satellite-TV system. Spanish-language sports and news channels will follow by midyear, according to Monica Talan, a spokeswoman.

Disney added 1.2 percent to $40.46 yesterday in New York and has gained 7.9 percent this year.

The Journal reported Univision’s discussions with Disney yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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