The list of suitors for Nate Silver’s data-driven website FiveThirtyEight has narrowed to a few, as the statistics guru prepares to move on from a nearly five-year tie-up with Walt Disney’s Co.’s ESPN.
The final contenders include ABC News, the Athletic website and the Atlantic, according to people familiar with the matter. ABC News, another Disney
unit, is a logical home for FiveThirtyEight, one of the people said, because Silver’s expertise in polling and political analysis would be especially useful as midterm elections approach this fall. Early on, the site became known for its presidential election forecasts.
The sale process, which has stretched for months, is expected to conclude in the coming weeks, one of the people said. The deadline for submitting bids passed last week.
ESPN decided to explore a sale of FiveThirtyEight last year due to a variety of factors. Chief among them was a desire by the company to increase the site’s focus on sports and take a harder look at expenses at a time when cable TV networks, including ESPN, are under pressure from cord-cutting, the people said.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.
Trending at WSJ.com:
After latest Twitter insult from Trump, Jeff Sessions pushes back
Cryptocurrency firms targeted in SEC probe