In a new deal with Unconventional Studios, Meredith will provide “lifestyle” content to the Trifecta Entertainment-distributed Celebrity Page, which has been airing since 2013 as OK!TV.
Meredith Corp. is interested in buying some of Tribune’s broadcast TV stations, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Meredith would be particularly keen on some of the 19 stations Tribune added when it acquired Local TV in 2013, one of the people said. Tribune also plans to speak with private equity firms interested in expanding their media portfolios, one of the people said.
Meredith Corp. is considering splitting its broadcast and publishing units, perhaps uniting one with a strategic partner, according to CEO Stephen Lacy. The idea is one of several possibilities the company is considering after its plan to merge with Media General fell through, Lacy said. The company is also contemplating acquisitions to add more media properties and advertising technology, he said, without providing details.
Meredith, after being rebuffed in its bid to merge with Media General, is actively on the prowl for companies to buy. CEO Steve Lacy says he “presented five acquisitions to the board last week.”
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 decrease is due to lower political ad revenue. Non-political ad revenue increased 9%, led by growth in auto and the addition of WALA Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla., and WGGB Springfield, Mass. The company also reported growth in retrans revenue.
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.
Meredith and Cox’s decision to form a programming/tech purchasing cooperative is an intriguing model. But we’ll have to wait and see how it works in practice. It’s just too bad Meredith and Cox feel they can’t tackle retrans and reverse comp together as well because those dealings are what is causing the smaller station operators the most trouble.
The initiative by the two station groups is designed to give the partners extra negotiating leverage with syndicators, as well as a chance to bid on their best shows by delivering 18% of U.S. TV households. It will also give both parties economies of scale when buying tech gear. “It gives us the benefits of an M&A without actually having to do an M&A,” says Meredith’s Paul Karpowicz.
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.
Nexstar reaches an agreement to buy Media General for $17.66 per share, but Meredith, which had earlier agreed to merge with Media General, isn’t ready to walk away. It now proposes a merger of equals, in which Media General shareholders would receive in return for each of their shares $3.90 in cash and one share in the new company valued at $14.94.
The company said that while Nexstar’s offer to buy the company that followed Media General’s announcement to merge with Meredith Corp. is undervalued, it will enter into talks with Nexstar. Nexstar says it’s eager to negotiate, but is sticking with its original offer of cash and stock that now amounts to $15.70 per share.
Media General’s board is leaning toward deciding that Nexstar Broadcasting’s acquisition offer is reasonably likely to be better for shareholders than its existing agreement to buy Meredith Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said, putting the Meredith deal in jeopardy.
The Wall Street Journal reports that activist investor Starboard Value LP on Tuesday said Media General was dragging its feet in agreeing to negotiations with Nexstar Broadcasting Group and exploring a merger of the two TV station companies. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
Growth to $126 million was driven primarily by the addition of WALA Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla., and WGGB Springfield, Mass., and higher retransmission consent fees. Non-political advertising revenues increased 12%.
Meredith said it believes due diligence will show the inferiority of Nexstar’s unsolicited offer for Media General. Meredith said it is “extremely confident that Meredith Media General has the potential to generate significant shareholder returns superior to Nexstar’s offer for Media General.”
The FCC ownership regulations have shaped (warped?) today’s broadcasting business in many ways and determined what kind of station deals can and cannot be done. For example, the 39% cap means many large groups can’t merge because they are at or near the limit. But it so complicates their ability to exit the business.
Meredith told employees in a memo this morning that both boards of directors have approved and signed a merger agreement and it remains “confident in the strategic rationale behind the merger and the shareholder value it will create.” The memo went on to say Meredith is working on closing the deal “in a timely fashion.’”
Media General’s $2.4 billion agreement to acquire Meredith Corp. is dead, two sources close to the deal said. One day after news that a second major Media General shareholder opposed the deal, it has become clear that there is not enough shareholder support to approve it, two sources close to the situation said Tuesday.
Another investor has lined up against Media General’s bid to buy Meredith Corp. Oppenheimer, which owns a 7% stake in Media General, is not supporting the transaction, according to a letter the investor wrote to the Richmond, Va.-based operator of 71 TV stations last weekend, two sources close to the situation say.
Starboard Value LP, which owns about 4.5% of Media General stock, says it’s in the best interests of shareholders to jettison its deal to buy Meredith and “negotiate the best deal possible with Nexstar.” It also cautions the board not to take any action to frustrate shareholders’ ability to vote on any proposed transaction.
Shareholders “seem both confused and disappointed,” writes analyst Marci Ryvicker. “According to our conversations, they feel that MEG [Media General] should not be re-entering the publishing space, that the price for [Meredith] is too high, and that the timing is just ‘strange.’ “
This week’s blockbuster merger of Media General and Meredith came as a surprise and has spawned a lot of questions. Here are just a few. Which of the stations in the six overlapping markets will be spun off? Why is Vince Sadusky being left behind? Who will oversee all the stations after the deal closes?
Media General Inc. is buying Meredith Corp. for $3.1 billion, including net debt, to create the third-largest local broadcaster, with 88 stations mostly in the eastern part of the country. Meredith is known for its suite of women’s magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Fit Pregnancy. But the real prize will be the revenue that the combined entity will generate from political advertisements as the contest to become the next president heats up.
Media General is paying $51.53 in cash and stock for each share of Meredith. Meredith CEO Stephen M. Lacy will head the merged company as CEO-president. Other senior management to be announced. Combined, the new Meredith Media General will have 88 stations in 54 markets reaching 30% of TV homes. But stations in six markets will be spun off to comply with FCC ownership limits.The deal, which is subject to government approval, is expected to close by June 30, 2016.
The Meredith Corp. board of directors on Wednesday declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.4575 per share, or $1.83 on an annual basis. The dividend will be payable on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Aug. 31. Meredith has paid dividends for 68 consecutive years, increasing them for 22 years straight. Over the last decade, Meredith has grown its dividend at an average annualized rate of 13%. Meredith’s dividend currently yields over 4%.
Growth was driven primarily by the addition of KMOV St. Louis and KTVK Phoenix; a strong political cycle led by its stations in Phoenix, Hartford and Kansas City; and a higher net retransmission contribution.
Retransmission money and station acquisitions drive rev to $123 million in the company’s fiscal third quarter.
Stations from groups including Fox O&Os, Sinclair, Hearst, Cox and others will air the new show from NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution this fall. The show will be co-hosted by WNBC New York contributor Ben Aaron and Bad Girls Club reality star Tanisha Thomas.
The company’s Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz says its stations, and TV broadcasting in general, can grow long-term only by taking their hard-earned reputation for local TV news and carrying it forward onto digital platforms and, perhaps, delivering it in new ways via a new broadcasting standard to handheld devices.
Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy: “It’s a frothy [M&A] market,” Lacy said during this morning’s conference call with investors. “We would like to add to stations but we want to make sure it adds to shareholder value.”
The total during the company’s fiscal 4Q rose to $92 million. For the full fiscal year, television revenue rose 19% to $376 million and operating profit grew 41% to $124 million. Both results are record highs.
Meredith Corp.’s syndicated daily lifestyle program, The Better Show, is now fully C3 measured by Nielsen. “We were very encouraged after seeing Nielsen benchmark data last fall,” said Brendan Kelly, managing director of advertising sales and sponsorships for The Better Show. “It’s a great opportunity to create a larger presence for The Better Show in […]
The partnership will offer a “second screen” app in early 2012, allowing viewers to tap into related content and swap comments with friends watching the same broadcast TV show at the same time. Broadcasters hope the app with lead to increased revenue, greater engagement and better tune-in promotion. Participating station groups include those of Pearl, the joint venture formed last year to pursue the mobile DTV business. They include Belo, Cox, Scripps, Gannett, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom.
The new “channel” will feature original home and garden programming four to five minutes long based on the company’s magazine brands.
The Meredith-owned CBS affiliate is launching mobile news and weather alerts using the Mogreet multimedia messaging (MMS) platform.
Pete Snyder is tapped to be president of the new group that will contain Meredith Integrated Marketing’s current social marketing (New Media Strategies) and mobile marketing (The Hyperfactory) capabilities. Going forward, it will also represent the newly evolving marketing agencies associated most closely with engagement marketing.