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Report: Fox discussing local television JV with ION Media

21st Century Fox Inc. is discussing a joint venture to operate local TV stations with ION Media Networks Inc., Bloomberg News reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

The joint venture would include ION's 60 independent TV stations and Fox's 28 local stations, with the possibility of Fox shifting its affiliation from Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. to Ion for 26 stations that are up for renewal this year, according to the Aug. 2 report. Fox may also look to switch its affiliation from 14 stations owned by Tribune Media Co. once Sinclair completes its acquisition of Tribune.

The joint venture could also allow Fox to retain some control over TV stations, without needing to include the local-broadcast business in its financial statements.