EARNINGS CALL

Nexstar Doubling Up In Honolulu

The station group is buying MNT affiliate KFVE for $6.5 million so that it can pair it with KHON, an affiliate of Fox and the CW, according to CEO Perry Sook. Raycom has been operating KFVE under a shared services agreement.

Nexstar Media Group CEO Perry Sook said this morning that the station group is buying the MNT affiliate in Honolulu to pair up with Nexstar’s KHON, the market’s Fox and CW affiliate. (The CW programming is carried on a subchannel.)

The latest acquisition is KFVE and, according to an FCC filing seeking approval of the deal, Nexstar is paying HITV License $6.5 million for it.

Nexstar is a major station consolidator and most often gobbles up stations in large bites. But Sook has always said he is open to small “tuck-in” deals where he can take advantage of the synergies that flow from operating multiple stations in markets.

“The [M&A] pipeline is active … and we will focus on where we can get the highest return,” Sook said during a conference call with analysts upon release of Nexstar’s third quarter results.

On the call, Sook was not asked specifically about his interest in the two biggest properties on the auction block, Tribune Media and Cox Media. He volunteered no comment on them.

Raycom Media has been operating KFVE under a shared services agreement. Raycom, whose merger into Gray Television is pending, owns the market’s CBS and NBC affiliates, KGMB and KHNL, respectively. It has been operating the three stations as one.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

According to the filing, HITV License and Nexstar have entered into a pre-closing time brokerage agreement under which Nexstar will provide “station services” to KFVE.

The time brokerage agreement replaces the SSA with Raycom. However, the filing says, Raycom will continue to provide “some services to Nexstar related to the operation of KFVE on a transitional basis.”


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