Media General said today that it has closed on its merger with LIN Media and the associated transactions. Media General’s President-CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said: “We are pleased to have finalized the merger transaction that delivers numerous strategic and financial benefits, including a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, enhanced scale and a diverse geographic footprint that will provide important opportunities to continue growing our business. We look forward to a smooth integration, capitalizing on our new, combined strength and achieving our synergy goals.”
Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and TV station website revenues, increased 6% to $111.9 million compared to $105.5 million in the third quarter of 2013.
Media General has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy LIN Media after agreeing to divest seven television stations in five markets, the Justice Department said on Thursday. The markets are Providence, R.I.; Savannah, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Mobile, Ala.; and Green Bay, Wis. The deal was valued at $1.6 billion when it was announced in March.
Board of directors and executive officers are appointed to lead the company post-merger.
Mediacom Communications announced this morning that it has struck a new retransmission consent deal with LIN Media. No terms were disclosed. A 2011 standoff in retrans negotiations between the companies resulted in a six-week blackout. So far this year, Mediacomm has also renewed retrans agreements with ABC and Fox.
After losing its affiliation in Indianapolis, the station group reups in Birmingham, Ala.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Providence, R.I.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Mason City, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Lafayette, Ind.
With the upcoming loss of its CBS affiliation because it wouldn’t meet the network’s reverse comp demands, LIN’s WISH Indianapolis has to find new programming starting next year. LIN has put together a team with experience at indie operations. Whatever they come up with, a big factor needs to be more and better local news, a tall order in a market that already produces a lot of newscasts, but one that the Peabody-winning WISH should be able to handle.
The broadcaster has put together a team to figure out what to do when it loses its CBS affiliation at the end of the year. No matter what, CEO Vince Sadusky says it’s “committed to localism, which is a core part of our values and strategies.”
The two companies say the deals should satisfy regulatory requirements related to their pending merger. As part of the arrangements, Media General is buying two stations in Colorado Springs and one in Tampa from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The change from $27.82 a share to $25.97 follows the loss of CBS affiliation for LIN’s WISH Indianapolis. Given that LIN has 55.6 million shares outstanding, the per-price reduction shaves $103 million off the total value of the deal.
In moving its Indianapolis affiliation from LIN to Tribune, CBS is sending the message that “if the incumbent doesn’t meet the value that we perceive it to be, we will certainly test the marketplace,” says CBS’s Ray Hopkins.
During quarterly earnings conference calls this morning, CEOs of both companies acknowledged it’s tough deciding which stations to divest to clear the way for their proposed merger. But decisions will have to come soon. “This will be a third-quarter kind of event for us,” said George Mahoney, president-CEO of Media General.
Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and TV station website revenues, increased 10% to $117.3 million compared to $107.1 million in the second quarter of 2013.
The leadership of Vincent Sadusky was key to winning approval of the merger of LIN Media into Media General, which is expected to close late this year or early in 2015. He will bring in a leadership team, displacing many longtime LIN executives. IBut it’s still unclear what’s in store for two top TV execs, Media General’s Deb McDermott and LIN’s Jay Howell, since their current jobs overlap.
The former news director at KTVT Dallas will take over LIN’s CBS affiliate in Oregon on June 23.
Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and TV station website revenues, increased 9% to $108.1 million, national revenue rose 2% to $30 million, digital revenues grew 171% to $24.5 million.
Media General and LIN have pledged to sell or swap stations in five markets to comply with FCC ownership rules. The companies, which announced their $1.6 million merger Friday morning, have overlapping stations in Providence, Savannah, Birmingham, Mobile and Green Bay.
The parties say the combination will create the second-largest pure-play TV station group with 74 stations in 46 markets, reaching 23% of TV homes. LIN shareholders are receiving $27.82 per share in Media General stock or cash. LIN CEO Vincent Sadusky (left) will become CEO of Media General once it has absorbed LIN.
Despite speed bumps from the FCC (plans to kill JSAs and SSAs) and Aereo, many industry observers think the station trading market will heat up, with speculation that possible players include not only the usual suspects (Sinclair and Nexstar) but also Post-Newsweek, LIN, Meredith, Media General, Raycom and Sunbeam.
Jordan Hoffner, a veteran of digital video efforts at Google, YouTube, NBC Universal and IAC’s Electus, will lead LIN’s newly acquired digital content and conversational marketing company, Federated Media.
Spearheaded by Mark Aitken, Sinclair’s VP of advanced technology, the new “broadcast-centric” transmission standard is being designed to address an issue Sinclair feels is being left out of ATSC’s efforts: the ability to reach viewers on their mobile devices. “ATSC 3.0 ought to be whatever broadcasters want it to be,” Aitken says. “This process should be about bringing broadcasters to the table for a solution, rather than having it dictated to them by TV set manufacturers.”
Petry has been losing a steady stream of clients due to station consolidation and to the periodic raids that reps stage on each other’s business. Last month, news broke that Petry had lost its biggest client, LIN Media, which is going to Katz Television, as well as the Journal Broadcast Group.
Just days after news that Petry Media had lost Journal Broadcast to Katz Television comes reports that LIN Media is taking its rep business elsewhere. No offfical word yet from Petry or LIN.
Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and TV station website revenues, increased 44% to $105.5 million, while national revenue rose 26% to $32.8 million.
For some group owners, especially those with multiple stations in major markets, the FCC’s upcoming incentive auction is starting to look like an opportunity to reap a cash windfall. Both LIN and Meredith say they’re considering participating. And for others like Ion and Univision, the financial rewards are very tempting.
On Oct. 3, at an investors’ conference in Texas, LIN Media CEO Vince Sadusky and CTO Brett Jenkins acknowledged that the station group might sell some of its TV spectrum in the FCC’s planned incentive auction. It would be a way of turning Class A low-power stations and full-power duopoly stations into cash, Sadusky said. […]
After 30 years with the company, Scott Blumenthal, EVP television at LIN Media, is ready to retire. Jay Howell, LIN VP regional television, was named his successor. “I look forward to working with Jay and the rest of the Executive Team in a consultancy role and spending some much needed time with my family and golf game,” Blumenthal said.
The multi-year local TV ratings contract with the Fox and CW affiliated stations expands Rentrak’s partnership with LIN Media.
The new brand includes a new slogan and a fresh news set design that relies on the rich history of Savannah, Ga. “Our focus in developing the new brand was to leverage our multiple platform approach to content delivery with a design that would make our viewers feel connected to our newscasts,” says Les Vann, president and GM of the LIN Media-owned station.
The station group is the first in the U.S. to integrate the asset management and archiving solution with its newsroom system. Masstech For News lets journalists access stories — text and video — within a station’s newsroom system, like AP ENPS and Avid iNews.
Now that bonded cellular technology has proved itself as an effective and reliable way to send back live video from the field, the top vendors have begun supplying software for managing and sharing all the incoming feeds.“Broadcasters have gotten over that bonded cellular hump,” says Ronen Artman, VP marketing at LiveU. “Now they want to take control of their devices.”
TVU Networks’ IP-based video switching, routing and distribution solution is updated with a slew of features, including the ability to deliver a return video feed directly to a bonded cellular TVU Pack and to encode video streams to multiple formats.
HYFN8 allows marketers to listen and react to online consumer behavior in real-time, giving them the intelligence and monetization tools to maximize social media ROI.
Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and TV station website revenues, increased 44% to $107.1 million, while national revenue rose 28% to $32.6 million.
LIN Media today appointed Kimberly Davis vice president human resources. Davis succeeds Daniel Donohue, who is retiring, effective July 5, after a decade at the company. As a member of the company’s executive management team, Davis will be responsible for developing and executing strategic employee initiatives that support the company’s overall business plan and strategy. […]
In the first quarter, auto advertising was off 2% due to a 15% shortall in local dealer spending and that dragged total core revenue down 2.4%.”Our markets 50-100 were impacted the most by the decline in auto,” said TV EVP Scott Blumenthal. “It is no coincidence that many of those markets are facing ongoing economic challenges.”
As LIN Media’s chief tech, Brett Jenkins has numerous balls in the air. First there’s continuing the HD transition at the group’s growing portfolio of stations. Next, there’s his work on ATSC that is planning TV’s next-generation standards. And then there’s also automation, mobile DTV, streaming and keeping an eye on the emerging 4K technology.
Following on its April 4 investment in digital agency HYFN, it is buying a majority interest in Los Angeles-headquartered ad buying/optimization firm Dedicated Media.
It expands its digital media portfolio with the social and mobile marketing solutions company.