Richmond-based Media General Inc.’s $1.6 billion merger with LIN Media should be completed at the end of this week after receiving the go-ahead from the FCC on Friday. The deal, announced in March, creates one of the nation’s largest broadcast TV groups, which will own and operate or service 71 stations in 48 U.S. markets. The new Media General will reach 27.5 million, or 23%, of U.S. television households.
Cox Communications and LIN Media announced a new retransmission agreement Friday for WTNH and MyTV9 , just minutes before a 5 p.m. deadline imposed by the Providence-base broadcast television company. LIN Media had threatened to pull its programming from Cox’s three Connecticut cable systems if a new retransmission agreement had not been reached.
Sinclair Broadcast Group tried and failed to steal Belo Corp. from the clutches of Gannett Co., leaving Gray Television Inc. and LIN LLC as targets for the largest U.S. TV station owner. Sinclair twice tried to top Gannett’s offer for Belo in the days before the shareholder vote, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the process was private.
It acquires network affiliates in eight markets: Portland, Ore. (DMA 22); Birmingham, Ala. (DMA 39); Wichita, Kan. (DMA 67); Honolulu (DMA 71); Savannah, Ga. (DMA 92); Youngstown, Ohio (DMA 110); Topeka, Kan. (DMA 136); and Mason City, Iowa (DMA 153).
“We are a very financially disciplined company,” said LIN CEO Vincent Sadusky. “We have no interest in getting bigger for bigger’s sake.… We do believe this is an accretive deal and there are opportunities to create further duopolies. We like the transaction, we like the mix of assets, we think it makes this entity stronger.”
As of 6 p.m. ET Wednesday, LIN stations were off the air in Eastern and Central timezone Mediacom markets because the MSO and broadcaster’s retrans pact had expired. One exception is WVBT and WAVY in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va., market, where an extension was granted until Sept. 7 because of Hurricane Irene.
Nine stations in five markets in the Northeast and Southern portions of the U.S. could go dark on March 31.
LIN Media and Dish Network failed to reach a retransmission consent deal prior to Friday midnight deadline, resulting in loss of 27 LIN stations in 17 markets. “LIN Media is simply being greedy,” says Dish in a statement.