Providence Equity Partners LLC is close to a deal to sell the bulk of its portfolio of Newport Television stations to three broadcasting companies for a total of just over $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Nexstar plans to buy the bulk of the 24 stations.
Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, which began shopping Newport Television last March, has found not one, but three buyers for 24 of the group’s TV stations, according to a story this morning in the Wall Street Journal.
The buyers are Nexstar Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media. They will pay a little more than $1 billion combined, says the story written by Christopher S. Stewart and Ryan Dezember.
How the stations are divvied up among the three is not clear, although Nexstar is expected to buy the bulk of them, Stewart and Dezember report.
WSJ subscribers may read the full story by clicking here.
By TVNewsCheck’s last count, Newport owns and manages 30 stations, 28 full-powers and two low-powers, in 20 markets.
Of the stations it manages, five are owned by High Plains Broadcasting, one is owned by Nextsar and one is owned by Mercury Broadcasting Co.
Through its partnership with High Plains and others, it operates more than one station in 10 markets: Memphis; Little Rock, Ark.; Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Salt Lake City; Jacksonville, Fla.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Witchita, Kan.; and Harrisburg-Lancaster, Pa.
At the height of the private equity station buying boom in early 2007, Providence bought what became Newport from Clear Channel Communications for about $1.2 billion. The Journal story says that price was subsequently cut to just over $1 billion following a legal dispute.
At the time, Victor Miller, then a top broadcast analyst at the now defunct Bear Stearns, estimated that the $1.2 purchase price was 15 times blended 2006-07 cash flow of $80 million. After taxes and fees, the deal should yield about $1.1 billion for Clear Channel, he said.
Newport has been managed by veteran broadcaster Sandy DiPasquale. With Providence’s backing, DiPasquale earlier ran BlueStone Television, but Providence sold that group to Diamond Castle for $230 million just before the Clear Channel deal.