The online publication Puck News reported on Friday that the Burbank entertainment and media giant is exploring any potential rationale for spinning off ESPN in “conversations happening regularly.”
MSNBC, however, is reporting that the Puck News report is inaccurate and that the company is focused on building the value of ESPN+, the network’s streaming service. Citing an unnamed source, the cable news network said that Disney is happy with the role the sports streamer is playing in its digital bundle.
Additionally, Disney is looking into expanding its presence in sports betting, the MSNBC report said.
In an August story, the Wall Street Journal reported that Disney and ESPN were in talks to allow a gaming company to use the ESPN name in its branding, such as with a sportsbook.
The newspaper reported that “there is no guarantee ESPN will reach a deal. It remains to be seen whether gaming companies have an appetite to pay for the ESPN name when they are already investing to establish their existing brands.”
Shares of Disney (DIS) closed Friday up $2.05, or about 1.2 percent, to $176.46 on the New York Stock Exchange, on a day when the Dow Jones closed up a little more than 1 percent.