Jeff Zucker, the former CNN boss who left the network amid controversy, has expressed the possibility of his new investment firm bidding for CNN if its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, decides to sell the all-news cable channel. Zucker now serves as the CEO of RedBird IMI, a private equity firm with assets of approximately $1 billion. This statement aligns with previous reports that indicated Zucker’s interest in CNN following his departure from the network in the wake of revelations regarding his relationship with a subordinate.
While speaking at the Yahoo Finance Invest Conference, Zucker noted that CNN is not currently for sale, and his firm isn’t actively considering buying it. However, he described CNN as a “fantastic asset,” emphasizing that if it ever became available, they would certainly consider it. Zucker, who spent nearly a decade at CNN, rose through the corporate ranks at NBC before his tenure at the cable news giant.
Zucker’s tenure at CNN came to an end after it was disclosed that he had been involved in a years-long relationship with Allison Gollust, his top marketing officer. Despite the controversy surrounding his exit, he remains open to the possibility of reacquiring the network he once led.
RedBird IMI, a joint venture involving RedBird Capital and International Media Investments, selected Zucker to lead the firm as it pursues acquisitions in the sports, media, and entertainment sectors. The future of CNN has been the subject of speculation, especially as Warner Bros. Discovery has embarked on a $3.5 billion cost-cutting effort following its $43 billion merger. David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, has maintained that CNN is not for sale. Nonetheless, ongoing restructuring and the discontinuation of CNN+ have led to speculation about the network’s future.
After Zucker’s departure, former Stephen Colbert showrunner Chris Licht briefly assumed the role of CNN boss. However, his 14-month tenure was marked by low ratings, the exit of long-time anchor Don Lemon following on-air issues, and a newsroom that remained loyal to Zucker. Licht’s management style and approach to leadership were criticized in a magazine expose in The Atlantic. Subsequently, Mark Thompson, a former BBC executive, was named as Licht’s successor.
Zucker has been active with his investment firm, making strategic investments, including a minority stake in the online newsletter Front Office Sports. Though the terms of the investment were not publicly disclosed, it was estimated to value the publication at around $40 million. Zucker has reportedly explored other media properties, including the Washington Post, Semafor, Puck, and Air Mail, although no deals have been officially announced at this time.