TVNewser LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllTwitter AllFacebook InsideFacebook InsideSocialGames InsideMobileApps

Mergers and Acquisitions

Broadcasting Companies Get Bigger, But Their Backs Are Still Against the Wall

1209_1406789346

The mega merger of Scripps and Journal Broadcasting seems to suggest there’s still plenty of money to be made in old media. As Al Tompkins writes at Poynter, “Wall Street loves broadcasting, and bigger companies have more leverage to negotiate retransmission deals with cable companies.”

Scripps becomes the fifth largest independent TV station group in the country, and as Barry Lucas, an analyst at Gabelli & Co., tells Bloomberg “Investors certainly seem to prize the combined companies.”

But here’s the problem: big mergers hide a real weakness: these media companies are getting bigger because they have to. “Leverage” is increasingly a matter of survival, as traditional broadcasters feel that leverage slipping away, into the hands of digital companies.

As Ken Auletta writes in The New Yorker, Rupert Murdoch’s bid to acquire Time Warner signals a company fighting for survival, not a goliath eating up the competition. Murdoch owns traditional media properties in the form of newspapers and the Fox television stations, but that’s hardly the power platform it used to be, especially compared to Comcast swallowing up Time Warner Cable, and A.T.&T. acquiring DirecTV: Read more

Mediabistro Course

Multimedia Journalism

Multimedia JournalismStarting September 25, learn how to create interactive packages with photos, audio, and video! Taught by a multiplatform journalist, Darragh Worland will teach you how to come up stories that would be best told in a multimedia format, and create original content for that package using photos, slideshows, and short video and audio pieces. Register now! 
 

Robert Allbritton on Sinclair Deal: ‘It’s Great To Do a Deal, But it’s Kind of Tough to Walk Away’

robert allbrittonOn the heels of the FCC’s approval of the Sinclair-Allbritton deal, Robert Allbritton talks to Politico (also owned by Albritton Communications) about his thoughts on getting out of the television business:

“Hey it’s great to do a deal, but it’s kind of tough to walk away. I’ve been doing this 20 years personally, and you don’t walk away from that without some thoughts,” Robert Allbritton said in an interview. “It’s going to be a good business for a while to come, but man, I’m 45 and I don’t know if it’s going to be a good business for the rest of my life.”

Allbritton said Internet-based communications are the way things are headed. “What you guys at POLITICO are doing is the future,” he said. “It’s just the way media is changing now, and man, is it changing fast.”

Gannett Completes Acquisition of Six London Broadcasting Stations

gannett logoGannett Co. has completed the acquisition of six London Broadcasting stations in Texas for $215 million, the two companies announced today. Included in the sale are KCEN in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KYTX in Tyler-Longview, KIII in Corpus Christi, KBMT and digital subchannel KJAC in Beaumont-Port Arthur, KXVA in Abilene-Sweetwater and KIDY in San Angelo.

London Broadcasting COO Phil Hurley will continue to lead the stations, reporting to Gannett Broadcasting president Dave Lougee. With the sale, Gannett will reach 83 percent of the households in Texas.

Fox and Cox Swap Stations in San Francisco, Boston, Memphis

cox media fox logosFox Television Stations and Cox Media Group have announced they are swapping stations in three markets: Fox will get Fox affiliate KTVU and independent KICU in San Francisco, and Cox will get Fox-owned WHBQ in Memphis and WFXT in Boston. After the deal closes, WHBQ and WFXT will remain Fox affiliates.

“The addition of KTVU and KICU to our portfolio of owned-and-operated stations provides us with a compelling growth opportunity in a top-10 market,” CEO of Fox Television Stations Jack Abernethy said in a statement. “Our stations group will benefit from both the strong demographics of the Bay area market as well as the alignment with our package of sports rights. I’d like to also take this opportunity to acknowledge the talented Boston and Memphis teams for the great work they do. We are confident they will be in good hands with our partners at Cox.”

“This is the first time we have had a media presence in Boston and Memphis, and CMG is excited about the prospects that WFXT-TV and WHBQ-TV bring to our business,” Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman said. “These new stations fit nicely into CMG’s broadcast portfolio, and we look forward to having a great news presence in these two markets and competing hard with the fine local broadcasters who already reside there.”

More in the release after the jump. Read more

Seeking FCC Approval For Allbritton Buy, Sinclair Agrees to Sell WHTM and WTAT

sinclair logoIn an effort to obtain FCC approval of the Allbritton acquisition, Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to sell two stations — WHTM in Harrisburg, Pa. and WTAT in Charleston, S.C — for a combined $97.4 million. The FCC previously said Sinclair would not be allowed to operate multiple stations in Harrisburg or Charleston.

WHTM, currently owned by Allbritton, will be sold to Media General. Sinclair will also sell the non-license assets of WTAT to Cunningham Communications, which currently holds the license assets. The station is operated by Sinclair through a local marketing agreement.

“The sales are part of Sinclair’s larger acquisition of the Allbritton Communications television stations in order to comply with regulatory rules in an effort to obtain approval of the Allbritton transaction by July 27, 2014,” Sinclair said in a statement. “Sinclair has no option on the stations and will not guarantee the debt of or provide sales services for these stations.  Sinclair anticipates it will be able to close on the Allbritton transaction in the third quarter of 2014, pending customary approvals and a waiver from the FCC.”

Meredith Acquires WGGB in Springfield

WGGB_ABC-Fox_logosMeredith Corporation has purchased WGGB, the ABC and Fox affiliate in Springfield, Mass., from Gormally Broadcasting. WGGB posted the news on its website Wednesday afternoon.

Meredith owns WSHM, a low-powered CBS affiliate in Springfield. The company also owns WFSB in Hartford-New Haven and stations in Phoenix, Atlanta, Flint, Kansas City, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Nashville, Portland, Ore., Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville, S.C., and Bend, Ore.

WGGB says the sale is expected to be complete before the end of the year.

Marshall Broadcasting Group Buys Three Nexstar Stations For $59M

nexstar logoMarshall Broadcasting Group is buying three Fox affiliates from Nexstar — KMSS in Shreveport, La., KPEJ in Odessa-Midland, Texas, and KLJB in Quad Cities, Iowa — for $58.5 million.

Marshall Broadcasting is a “newly formed minority owned media entity owned 100% by Pluria Marshall Jr.,” according to Nexstar. The company will fund the acquisition through borrowings guaranteed by Nexstar. According to the FCC, African-Americans control less than 1 percent of all television broadcast stations.

“We believe the proposed transaction announced today presents an ideal framework for introducing and incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting, and for bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to MBG’s markets at the earliest possible opportunity,” Nexstar CEO Perry A. Sook said in a statement.

Marshall will launch local news and minority-focused public affairs programs at each station.

“With Nexstar’s support and commitment to guarantee financing for the Shreveport, Odessa-Midland and Quad Cities station purchases, we believe we are establishing a new paradigm that addresses recent proposed FCC regulation changes while expanding the opportunity for minority broadcasters to play a greater role in the U.S. broadcasting industry as owners and operators of television stations,” Marshall said.

More from Nexstar after the jump. Read more

Gannett to Acquire Six London Broadcasting Stations For $215M

gannett logoGannett Co. will purchase six stations in Texas from London Broadcasting for $215 million. The stations are KCEN in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KYTX in Tyler-Longview, KIII in Corpus Christi, KBMT and digital subchannel KJAC in Beaumont-Port Arthur, KXVA in Abilene-Sweetwater and KIDY in San Angelo.

The acquisition is the latest expansion of Gannett, which nearly doubled its broadcast portfolio with the acquisition of Belo in December. “The addition of these stations will expand Gannett’s reach into some of the fastest growing markets in the nation and furthers our successful transformation into a diversified multi-media company,” Gannett president and CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close this summer. After the closing, London Broadcasting Company COO Phil Hurley will continue to lead the stations.

The release is after the jump. Read more

The ‘Acquisition Binge’ in Local Television

From the Pew Research Center’s report on “the acquisition binge in local television”:

A decade ago, the number of stations owned by what are now the five largest local TV companies was 190. Today, that number is 464. In 2013, alone, about 300 full-power local TV stations changed hands, at a cost of more than $8 billion. That is 195 more stations sold than in 2012 and more than four times the dollar value of the deals made in 2012.

Pew Research Local News Acquisition

Pew Report: Total Value of Station Acquisitions Hits 7-Year High

In the annual State of the News Media report, Pew Research Center finds local television station sales in 2013 were up 205% compared to 2012. Nearly 300 stations were sold last year for a total of $8.8 billion, a 367% increase in total value compared to the previous year.

pew report local tv acquisitions

Sinclair led the way among station groups, purchasing 63 stations in 2013. Gannett purchased Belo, adding 20 stations, and Tribune Co. acquired Local TV, expanding its portfolio by 19 stations. The total value of local television acquisitions in 2013 was the highest it has been since 2006.

NEXT PAGE >>