The $4.6 billion deal will leave the resulting Nexstar Media Group with171 full-power stations in 100 markers covering nearly 39% of U.S. TV homes.
Gray Closes Station Buys In 3 Markets
The $278 million in deals adds stations in Green Bay, Wis., and Davenport, Iowa, as well as three in Fairbanks, Alaska. It now owns 100 stations covering 10.1% of the U.S.
Media General 3Q Revenue Climbs 17%
The increase to $377 million is powered by gains in local, national, political and retrans. Digital revenue was down 9% to $40 million.
The NAB tells the FCC that the “merits of the proposed transaction have been thoroughly and comprehensively argued before the FCC, and the Department of Justice has blessed the merger. There is no good reason for further delay.”
The Justice Department says Nexstar must sell seven stations in six markets to buyers vetted by Justice as a condition of approving the $4.6 billion Media General acquisition.
Dish Network and the American Cable Association continue to put pressure on Nexstar’s $4.6 billion purchase of rival broadcaster Media General. Meeting with the FCC along with officials for the International Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, the pay TV industry reps asked the agency to impose “baseball-style” arbitration for approval of the deal.
What Happens Next For Tegna?
Media General 2Q Revenue Climbs 13%
The increase to $363 million is powered by across-the-board gains in local, national, political, digital and retrans.
The FCC announced a consent decree with Media General by which Media General agreed to pay a $700,000 “settlement payment” to the U.S. Treasury to settle the investigation of its attempts to enforce the provisions of a joint sales agreement with Schurz Communications.
An analysis of station trading shows the majority of second quarter deals were the result of spinoffs from Nexstar’s acquisition of Media General.
With backing from an Atlanta private equity firm, former Gray exec Bob Prather agrees to pay $115 million for five small-market network affils: Nexstar’s WFFT Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Fox, DMA 111) and KQTV St. Joseph, Mo. (ABC, DMA 201), and Media General’s KIMT Rochester, Minn.; (CBS, DMA 153), WTHI Terra Haute, Ind. (CBS, DMA 155); and WLFI Lafayette, Ind. (CBS, DMA 187).
Upon completion of the transaction, expected later this year, Nexstar will change its name to Nexstar Media Group Inc.
Gray Buying Two Nexstar Spinoffs For $270M
It is acquiring ABC affiliate WBAY Green Bay, Wis., and NBC affil KWQC Davenport, Iowa, both currently owned and operated by Media General that are being divested as part of the Nexstar-Media General merger.
With the Fox Television Stations as its anchor, the syndicated millennials-focused news show will also air on some Media General and Sinclair stations for four weeks.
Media General 1Q Revenue Climb 16%
The increase to $343 million is powered by across-the-board gains in local, national, political, digital and retrans.
Cox Media announced Thursday night that it has reached a new carriage agreement with Dish Network, avoiding a blackout of Cox’s 14 stations in the satcaster’s lineup. Meanwhile, Media General said last night that it has granted a “short-term extension” in its carriage talks with Dish. The broadcaster did not reveal the length of the extension.
Dish could lose roughly 70 local stations in 48 markets this week due to a fee fight with their owner and/or operator, Media General. The stations, which include network affiliates in such markets as San Francisco/Oakland, Providence, Austin, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Portland, Oregon, have posted notices at their websites that Dish viewers could lose their signals at 6:59 p.m. ET this Thursday when the current carriage pact expires.
Gray Cleared To Take Control Of WAGT
The Georgia Supreme Court yesterday lifted a lower court injunction that had blocked Gray from assuming full control of its newly acquired WAGT Augusta, Ga. Media General had won the injunction saying it could continue operating the station under joint sales and shared services agreement with Schurz, the station’s previous owner. John Ray, GM of Gray’s other station in the market, WRDW, says Gray and Media General are “cooperating to facilitate the smooth return of WAGT to Gray’s operation and control,” according to a local report.
The American Cable Association says the $4.6 billion deal will give Nexstar 115 Big Four affiliates in 101 markets and undue leverage in retrans negotiations. With the leverage, Nexstar would “drive up…fees (and, in turn, consumer prices) and…increase the risk and incidence of broadcast programming blackouts.” As an alternative to denial, ACA suggests forcing Nexstar into “baseball-style arbitration” or preventing its use of “after-acquired station” clauses.
What Does WAGT Mean For TV Contracts?
How far can a court go in ordering broadcasters to comply with the terms of a contract? By trying to get a court to enforce a contract signed with a broadcaster, is the suing party infringing on a licensee’s control over its broadcast station license? These questions are addressed in a letter that the FCC released this week, sent to a federal district court in connection with a dispute between two big TV companies over the termination of a joint sales agreement between TV stations in Georgia.
What To Make Of The Strange Case Of WAGT?
Media General has incurred the wrath of the FCC for continuing to operate Gray’s WAGT Augusta, Ga., under joint sales and shared services agreements. It’s one the wackier cases I’ve seen in a long time. Media General, it seems to me, is taking a big gamble, given it’s pending $4.6 billion merger with Nexstar, and I’m not sure why.
The agency’s deputy general counsel tells a federal court that the probe is to determine whether to subject Media General to a license revocation hearing. The FCC is upset by Media General’s attempts in court to block Gray Television from ending the JSA it has with Media General for WAGT Augusta, Ga., and from selling the station in the incentive auction.
Judge Sets Hearing In Battle Over WAGT
A federal judge will hear arguments this Thursday involving a contract dispute between the station’s new owner, Gray Television, and Media General, the company that has been operating WAGT (NBC) under a long-term contract with former owner Schurz Communications. Gray, owner of Augusta’s WRDW (CBS), says the agreement dissolved when it acquired the NBC affiliate from Schurz. Media General, which owns WJBF (ABC), maintains the joint operating agreement is still in effect.
Media Gen.: Plenty Of Growth Prior To Merger
As the station group awaits approval of its merger with Nexstar, it sees dollar signs ahead in the form of political ad revenue. The category has gotten off to a flying start for the company, with Iowa and South Carolina already under its belt and with Super Tuesday on the near horizon. Media General goes into the March 1 event with stations in seven states and 15 in-state markets. Plus, it sees retrans as a major growth category.
Media General Pro Forma 4Q Rev Down 5%
Net revenues are $366 million, with local (including retrans) up 18%, national down 3% and digital down 5%, according to accounting that includes LIN Media stations acquired late last year. For the full year, net revenues are down 1% to $1.3 billion
To grease FCC approval of its merger with Media General, Nexstar says it will spin off stations to comply with the agency’s local and national ownership limits. But it asks to keep joint sales agreements in six markets, despite the FCC’s denying a JSA transfer in the Gray-Schurz deal just last week. Nexstar and Media General argue that the six JSAs are “incidental” to the deal.
The station group has chosen the former creative services director at its Dayton, Ohio, duopoly to oversee programming and affiliate marketing for all its stations.
The long-term agreement provides for audience measurement of all of Media General’s stations.
The new agreement calls for over-the-air and local cable carriage of Sony Pictures TV’s classic TV diginet in 20 markets.
‘Hollywood Today Live’ Renewed For Season 2
With the support of Fox Television Stations, Media General agrees to a sophomore season for its syndicated entertainment news strip. Garcelle Beauvais becomes its fourth co-host.
At 39%, Sook, Smith Set Different Courses
Now that Nexstar has signed a definitive agreement to absorb Media General for $4.6 billion, Nexstar joins Sinclair in having hit the FCC ceiling on station ownership. The groups CEOs — Perry Sook and David Smith, respectively — have a lot in common, but their post-consolidation strategies are diverging. Smith wants Sinclair to be a national programmer; Sook simply wants to get the most out of what he’s got.
The group broadcaster says the cable operator’s claim to the FCC that the proposed Nexstar-Media General merger will hurt cable subscribers contains “egregious mischaracterizations.”
Facing a blackout on Nexstar Broadcasting Group stations in nine markets due to stalled retransmission licensing renewal talks, Cox Communications has spoken out against Nexstar’s $4.6 billion bid to acquire Media General.
Meredith ‘Aggressively’ Looking For Stations
The failure to acquire Media General has in no way dampened Meredith’s thirst for acquisitions, and that includes “a handful ” of stations that Nexstar will have to spin off to comply with the FCC’s local ownership limits. As part of its breakup arrangement, Meredith gets first dibs on those stations. “We will continue to be aggressively on the outlook,” said Meredith CEO Steve Lacy in regards to the company’s plans for hunt for more stations. Discussing the company’s options, Lacy added, “We have a lot of levers to pull and we intend to pull them.”
As expected, Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Media General have reached a deal by which Nexstar will pay $17.14 per share in cash and stock for Merger General.The merger creates a new mega-group with 171 stations in 100 markets serving 39% of TV households. Current Media General shareholders will also be entitled to the proceeds from the sale of any Media General spectrum in the FCC’s incentive auction. The parties have agreed to pay Meredith $60 million to terminate its competing merger agreement with Media General.
Meredith Corp. is close to walking away from its attempt to merge with Media Genera, allowing Nexstar Broadcasting Group to acquire the TV station owner after months of negotiation, according to people familiar with the matter.
Stations Becoming DIY Program Believers
A determined cadre of station groups remains intent on replacing pricey Hollywood syndication shows with programming of its own. Among the upcoming do-it-yourself offerings is a talk show from Tegna Media hosted by T.D. Jakes set to debut this fall.
The longtime chairman of Media General died Saturday. He had suffered a fall at his home in Richmond, Va, on Jan. 15 and had been hospitalized since then. He was 77.
Tony Optican, head of programming at Media General, says both his company and the Fox Television Stations are working to figure out how to increase the distribution of the entertainment-news show despite the fact that Media General has no syndication sales apparatus set up to market the freshman syndie.
The company reiterates why it thinks its deal is best. Nexstar CEO Perry Sook: “We intend to take any steps that may be necessary to allow us to consummate our agreed transaction with Media General.”
A Media General SEC filing yesterday recommends shareholders approve the new deal unveiled yesterday by Meredith. However, it reveals that Media General CEO Vincent Sadusky thinks the competing bid from Nexstar is a better one.