Tegna Completes Acquisition Of Dispatch Stations
Tegna Inc. said Thursday morning that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Dispatch Broadcast Group’s top-rated stations in Indianapolis, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio.
Tegna paid $535 million in cash for NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis and WBNS-AM-FM-TV (CBS) in Columbus, Ohio.
“WTHR and WBNS are broadcasters of the highest caliber, and a natural fit for Tegna as we expand our portfolio of Big Four affiliates in top markets,” said Dave Lougee, president-CEO of Tegna. “These acquisitions further enhance our commitment to excellence in local journalism while creating value for our shareholders.”
Tegna said the transaction was structured as a stock purchase, and “represents a compelling purchase price multiple for the company of 7.9 times expected average 2018-2019 EBITDA, including run rate synergies. Tegna expects the transaction to be EPS accretive within a year and immediately accretive to free cash flow per share.”
Tegna financed this transaction through the use of available cash and borrowing under its existing credit facility. Leverage is expected to increase to approximately 4.9 times, inclusive of the previously announced acquisition of the Nexstar-Tribune divestiture stations.
The company said substantially all of Tegna’s free cash flow will be used to reduce debt, reducing total leverage to approximately 4.1 times by the end of 2020. As previously announced, share repurchases will remain suspended throughout 2020 to focus on reducing debt.