The Walt Disney Company is reportedly close to inking a $3 billion (€2.44bn; £1.68bn) deal for the sale of its ABC Radio division.

The putative buyer, Citadel Broadcasting, owned in large part by private equity firm Forstmann Little, is currently the fifth largest radio company in the US. Its acquisition of ABC's 73 stations would propel it into the top tier and bring access to much larger markets.

Citadel's present strategy concentrates quite successfully on smaller, local markets where competition for advertising is less fierce.

ABC, which was founded in 1943, was put up for auction last summer following a review of Mouse House assets by Robert Iger, who succeeded Michael Eisner to the ceo role in October.

Disney and Citadel are presently zip-lipped about the deal. Among the other hopefuls in the bidding were private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Entercom Communications.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff