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Mergers and Acquisitions

Gannett Completes Belo Acquisition

gannett belo logos_304x200The Gannett-Belo merger is complete: Gannett Co. has officially acquired Belo Corp. for $13.75 per share in cash, plus $715 million of outstanding debt, for a total of $2.2 billion.

“We are thrilled to combine these two storied media companies, both of which are known for award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement. “The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in Gannett’s ongoing transformation into a higher-margin and more highly diversified company in the rapidly evolving media business.”

Earlier today, Gannett announced it would sell three stations — KMOV in St. Louis and KTVK-KSAW in Phoenix — to Meredith Corp. for $407.5 million. The sale of KMOV was required by the Department of Justice before the Gannett-Belo deal could close.

The acquisition of Belo’s 20 stations nearly doubles Gannett’s broadcast portfolio, bringing the company’s reach to approximately one-third of all television households in America. Gannett becomes the #1 CBS affiliate group as well as expanding its already #1 NBC affiliate group.

As of today, Belo will no longer be listed on the NYSE.

Meredith Acquires KMOV, KTVK and KASW From Gannett

meredith_1Meredith Corporation will buy three stations in two markets — KMOV in St. Louis and KTVK-KASW in Phoenix — from Gannett Co. for $407.5 million in cash.

News of the sale comes just a week after the Department of Justice said Gannett had to sell KMOV in order to proceed with its acquisition of Belo Corp. Gannett says the sale satisfies the obligations, and that the close of the Gannett-Belo merger is “expected promptly.”

KSAW, the CW affiliate in Phoenix, will subsequently be purchased from Meredith by SagamoreHill. Meredith, which owns KPHO in Phoenix, will provide “certain services” for the station, according to a press release.

“Meredith is a highly respected multi-media company which shares our commitment to outstanding local journalism, and we are confident that these stations will be in good hands,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement.

More from Gannett after the jump. Read more

FCC OKs Tribune’s $2.735 Billion Buy of Local TV

tribune_304In addition to approving Gannett’s purchase of Belo, The FCC also gave the OK for Tribune Company to assume control of broadcast licenses held by subsidiaries of Local TV Holdings paving the way for Tribune to acquire 19 of Local TV’s stations in 16 markets.

“On behalf of thousands of Tribune and Local TV employees across the country, I want to thank the Commission for reaching this decision; we are extremely pleased to move forward with the transaction,” Peter Liguori, Tribune’s President and CEO said in a statement.

As part of the deal, the licenses of WNEP in Wilkes-Barre, PA, WTKR and WGNT in Norfolk, VA, will be will be transferred to Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, LLC, which is owned by Ed Wilson former president of Tribune Broadcasting.

The deal creates the largest combined independent broadcast group and content creator in the US.

Tribune included a handy map of its local TV properties on its website. You can see it after the jump. Read more

FCC Approves Gannett’s Purchase of Belo

gannett belo logos_304x200Gannett Co. and Belo Corp. announced today the FCC has approved Gannett’s acquisition of Belo Corp.

The deal is expected to close early next week.

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice required Gannett sell St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV in order to move forward with the $1.5 billion acquisition. With Gannett assuming $715 million in existing Belo debt, the deal comes out to being worth nearly $2.2 billion.

With the purchase, Gannett will own 43 stations, making it the nation’s fourth largest owner of major network affiliates, reaching nearly one-third of all US households.

Gannett Agrees to Sell KMOV As Part of Belo Merger

gannett belo logos_304x200The Department of Justice will require Gannett Co. to sell St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV in order to proceed with the pending acquisition of Belo Corp.

The DOJ says Gannett, Belo Corp. and Sander Media LLC, which will acquire six stations in markets where Gannett and Belo overlap as part of the merger, must “divest substantially all of the assets used in the operation of KMOV-TV in St. Louis, Missouri, which is currently owned by Belo.”

Without the divestiture, “Gannett would have gained a dominant position in broadcast television spot advertising in the St. Louis area, resulting in higher prices advertisers,” the DOJ said in a statement.

KSDK, Gannett’s NBC affiliate in St. Louis, will not be impacted by the sale of KMOV, Gannett says.

The Gannett-Belo merger remains subject to approval by the FCC. It is expected to close by the end of the year.

Gray Television and Excalibur Broadcasting to Acquire 15 Stations For $335M

Gray Television and Excalibur Broadcasting have agreed to acquire 15 stations from Hoak Media and Parker Broadcasting for $335 million.

The 20 stations that Gray and Excalibur will acquire from Hoak and Parker are KSFY, KABY and KPRY in Sioux Falls, S.D.; KVLY and KXJB in Fargo, N.D.; KNOE and KAQY in Monroe, La.; KFYR, KMOT, KUMV and KQCD in Minot, N.D.; WMBB in Panama City, Fla.; KALB in Alexandria, La.; KREX, KREY, KFQX and KREG in Grand Junction, Co.; KNOP and KIIT in North Platte, Neb.; and KHAS in Lincoln, Neb.

Due to FCC ownership requirements, Gray will sell Hoak’s stations station in Panama City, Fla. and four stations in Grand Junction, Co., bringing the total number of stations acquired to 15.

Excalibur has also agreed to acquire two more stations from Prime Cities Broadcasting, KNDX and KXND in Minot, N.D., for $7.5 million.

Gray will provide back-office services and limited programming to the Excalibur stations in Lincoln, Fargo, Minot and Monroe through a shared services agreement.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Hoak, Parker and Prime Cities television stations into the Gray community,” Gray President and CEO Hilton Howell said in a statement. “These transactions will yield impressive synergies, many of which are unique to Gray given how well the stations’ locations, operations and culture complement our own.”

Nexstar to Acquire Grant Company For $88M

nexstar logoNexstar Broadcasting is acquiring Grant Company, Inc. for $87.5 million. The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, will add seven stations in four markets to Nexstar’s portfolio.

The stations are WFXR and WWCW in Roanoke; WZDX in Huntsville, Ala.; KGCW and KLJB in Quad Cities, Iowa; and WLAX and WEUX in La Crosse, Wisc. After the Nexstar acquisition, Mission Broadcasting will purchase KLJB and subsequently enter into a local service agreement with Nexstar.

“We believe the acquisition of these stations and the expanded scale they bring to our operations combined with our record of building new local direct client relationships, success in expanding local programming and consistent growth in digital media and political revenues, position Nexstar to continue building long-term shareholder value,” Nexstar CEO Perry A. Sook said in a statement.

With the acquisition, Nexstar will own, operate, program or provide sales to 102 stations in 54 markets, reaching 15.5% of all U.S. television households.

Gray Television Acquiring Yellowstone Television For $23 Million

Gray Television has agreed to acquire Yellowstone Television’s four stations for $23 million. The transaction gives Gray a total of 49 stations, reaching 7.7% of U.S. TV households.

The four stations are KGNS in Laredo, Texas; KGWN and KCHY in in Cheyenne, Wy.; and KCWY in Casper, Wy.

“This group of stations is distinguished by their demonstrated market success and commitment to their local communities. While selling the group was a difficult decision, Gray Television will provide these stations and their fine employees with tremendous opportunities to build upon their successes,” Yellowstone president Jason Wolff said in a statement.

In the Wake of KOMO Layoffs, Seattle Times Blasts Sinclair, FCC

FCC_304After Sinclair Broadcast Group laid off more than 20 employees at its recently-acquired stations in Seattle and Portland this month, The Seattle Times called on the FCC to block pending media consolidation deals in an editorial today, writing that Seattle viewers are losing “strong, local journalism.”

Welcome to the Northwest, Sinclair. Decimating the soul of this city’s last locally owned commercial TV station is a heck of an introduction. Those editors, satellite-truck operators, writers and producers are vital to keeping our community informed via the people’s airwaves, which stations are entrusted with to balance profit and public interest.

[...] Within two years, Sinclair has closed or pursued deals to increase its holdings from 58 to 162 stations — covering nearly 40 percent of the country’s audience. The FCC turns a blind eye to Sinclair and its copycats.

Tribune — owner of KCPQ — just emerged from bankruptcy. Already, it’s using sidecars to purchase 20 stations for $2.7 billion. Gannett laid off hundreds in August while simultaneously attempting a $1.5 billion takeover of KING and 19 other Belo-owned stations.

The FCC should block these pending deals. Enforce the rules.

KBAK-KBFX Introduces Sinclair Broadcast Group to Bakersfield

KBAK-KBFX in Bakersfield, Calif. are two of the stations recently acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group in its purchase of Fisher Communications. In honor of the ownership change, the duopoly’s morning newscast put together a tour of the town (DMA 127) for its new management (video above).

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