ESPN reaches agreement in principle to sell BASS

ESPN sells to a group of investors.

ESPN Inc. announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell BASS, LLC to a group of investors led by Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland.

BASS is the largest membership organization of bass anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members. It was purchased by ESPN in 2001 and includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a popular website.

The purchasing party will assume ownership of all BASS' assets after the completion of the sale.

"The investor group, with its enthusiasm for the brand, will continue to serve BASS' interests with anglers," said Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions.

As part of the agreement in principle, BASS' core television programming assets — the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic — will remain on ESPN networks.

Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long history with ESPN as the host of the network's second longest-running show, The Fishin' Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007.

Retired Time Inc. executive and avid angler Logan at one time oversaw Time Inc., America Online, Time Warner Cable and the Time Warner Book Group before his retirement from the media giant in 2002.

Georgia native Copeland retired as U.S. and Global CEO of international financial services firm Deloitte in 2003 and currently serves on the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies.

"I am eager to begin working with the anglers, sponsors, and supporters to bring an even more exciting BASS business to its fan base," said McKinnis.

"This group is looking forward to working with the fishing industry's strongest brand and plans to make BASS even more relevant in the multimedia world," said Logan.

Until a sales transaction is finalized, BASS will continue to operate under ESPN's ownership.

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