Jennifer Lopez-Backed Fuse Cable Channel Said to Be on the Block

  • Suitors include media companies that target Hispanic viewers
  • Few potential buyers as independent networks face cheap rivals

Jenny from the Block’s TV network is...on the block.

Fuse, the cable channel that merged with Jennifer Lopez-backed NuvoTV last year, is working with a financial adviser to find a buyer, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The adviser is talking to media companies that may be interested in targeting a U.S. Hispanic audience, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. A deal could be difficult to complete because many U.S. media companies aren’t looking to buy independent cable networks right now, one of the people said, as pay-TV bundles shrink in size.

“As a result of the company’s success and multiple inquiries from interested third parties, the company felt it prudent to retain advisers to explore strategic options,” Don Ciaramella, a spokesman for Fuse at the Lippin Group, said Friday an in e-mailed statement.

The pressure on cable companies has been growing. They’ve lost TV subscribers en masse since 2010 as customers have cut service to watch video on cheaper alternatives such as Netflix Inc. and have switched to rival providers, including FiOS, DirecTV and Dish Network Corp.

Merged Programming

NuvoTV parent company SiTV Media Inc., which announced a partnership with singer and entrepreneur Lopez in 2012, acquired Fuse from Madison Square Garden Co. last year for $226 million in cash. MSG maintained a 15 percent equity stake in the combined company. Lopez’s NuvoTV beat out Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs for Fuse in 2014.

Fuse and NuvoTV merged their programming in September to broaden the cable channel beyond music content that targets millennials. Fuse reaches more than 70 million U.S. households and charges pay-TV providers 7 cents per subscriber, according to data from research firm SNL Kagan.

Pay-TV providers are offering slimmer bundles of channels to keep prices lower as customers continue to cancel subscriptions. In the second quarter of this year, pay-TV services recorded their biggest-ever quarterly drop in subscribers, losing 625,000 TV customers, according to a report from SNL Kagan. About 100.4 million households still pay for traditional pay TV.

Fuse airs concerts, music videos and original programming, including “Skee TV,” hosted by “DJ Skee” Scott Keeney, and “Fluffy Breaks Even,” featuring comedian Gabriel Iglesias. Fuse owns a separate music cable channel, FM, which replaced NuvoTV on Sept. 30. Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions is a minority stakeholder in Fuse.