The $45 million acquisition comprises CBS affil WWNY and WNYF-CD (Fox) Watertown, N.Y., and CBS-Fox affiliate KEYC Mankato, Minn.
Gray Television on Friday said it is buying United Communications’ television stations for $45 million. The acquisition will add two new markets to Gray’s growing portfolio: WWNY (CBS) and WNYF-CD (Fox) in Watertown, N.Y. (DMA 178) and KEYC (CBS-Fox) in Mankato, Minn. (DMA 199).
“We are honored to be selected by United as the new owners of legacy stations WWNY and KEYC,” said Kevin Latek, Gray’s chief legal and development officer. “We look forward to working with their dedicated employees to further enhance these stations’ record of service and success.”
“Exiting the broadcast industry and communities we have come to love is very difficult,” said United’s president, Lucy Brown. “United’s board came to this decision with a heavy heart, but one that looks to the future with great optimism. We determined that though our TV stations enjoy tremendous success, the time has come when ownership by a larger group offers greater prospects to compete in this new media environment. With Gray we found a broadcast company with shared values and commitments to localism. We are confident that Gray will provide the resources and leadership to allow our employees and stations to best serve their local communities going forward.”
Gray said WWNY and KEYC “each consistently achieves No. 1 ratings in all major dayparts in their respective local markets, and each station has very deep roots in its local community. These stations represent Gray’s first television stations located in New York State and Minnesota. The stations, however, complement Gray’s existing exposure to and coverage of these states from legacy Gray stations located in other markets that spill into other areas of Upstate New York and Minnesota.”
This transaction advances Gray’s strategy of “enhancing shareholder value through select acquisitions of highly rated stations that share the culture and values of our existing television stations,” it said.
Gray added that it anticipates that the transaction will be immediately free cash flow accretive, and it will fund the acquisition with cash on hand. It expects closing the transaction following receipt of regulatory and other approvals in the second quarter.