Factoring out political, the increase jumps to 6.9%. The increases are led by a 4.3% gain in core advertising and double-digit increases in retrans, e-media and trade and barter.
Nexstar is paying $18.5 million for Gilmore’s ABC affiliate WEHT and is selling its one-time Fox affiliate WTVW to Mission Broadcasting for $6.7 million while continuing to operate it under a local services agreement. WTVW lost its Fox affiliation because of Nexstar’s running battle with the network over reverse compensation.
Oak Hill Capital Partners and TPG — or possibly a combination of the two — have emerged as the top candidates to buy out Nexstar majority owner ABRY, a Boston-based private equity firm. However, virtually all private equity firms with broadcast interests are likely giving the Nexstar deal a look.
Nexstar claims Granite’s WISE Fort Wayne Ind., is attempting to monopolize ad sales in the market through its shared services agreement with Malara’s WPTA and control of the local ad sales of three of the Big Four networks, plus MNT and the CW.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group plans to explore strategic alternatives, including a sale. The Wall Street Journal says the station group could go for $1 billion. Moelis & Co. has been retained as financial adviser and Kirkland & Ellis as legal counsel.
McGraw-Hill has begun shopping its four-station group and is said to be drawing interest from the likes of Nexstar, Meredith and Belo. Based on its financials for 2010 and 2011, the group is worth between $150 million and $200 million, although bidding and the expection of big revenue gains from political advertising in 2012 could push the number higher.
WFFT, which will go independent on Aug. 1 after failing to renew its Fox affiliation, will replace the Fox primetime programming with Extra!, The Insider and, beginning this fall, back-to-back airings of The Big Bang Theory. It’s also adding a half hour of late news and promising full HD news by October.
GoLocal.biz has been providing local business directory, coupon, movie and entertainment listings to all 35 of Nexstar’s local portal websites. Nexstar plans to market its services to other local media. The terms were not disclosed.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group has agreed to carry Bounce TV, the new digital over-the-air network aimed at African-American viewers. Bounce, backed by a group led by Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young, and announced in April, has already signed carriage deals that will put it in markets representing 32% of the country when it launches in the fall.
Nexstar Broadcasting has started a fund to assist employees of its KODE-KSNF Joplin, Mo., who lost homes or were injured seeded with a $10,000 contribution from CEO Perry Sook and CFO Tom Cater. Employees and others are invited to contribute
The longtime GM of the CBS affiliates in Green Bay, Wis., and Marquette, Mich., is retiring upon the completion of the sale of the stations this summer to Nexstar Broadcasting. Nexstar announced it was buying the stations from Liberty Media last month for $20 million.
Although I’ve been critical of Fox’s tactics, I agree fundamentally with what it is trying to achieve. If the Big Four are going to survive and prosper, they are going to have to keep pushing up the revenue they derive from retrans, directly through O&Os and indirectly through their affiliates. But Fox needs to recognize that every affiliate is different. If Fox is determined to negotiate with each station group individually, it should treat them as individuals, tailoring their demands to reflect each group financial situation. Insisting that each coughs up the same fee as if every business were the same makes no sense.
The group owner’s CEO Perry Sook says nothing has changed in negotiations over the network’s hard-line stance on sharing station retrans revenue.
Big drops in political revenue and network comp from the year-ago quarter are offset by gains in core revenue, retrans and e-Media money.
The Dallas-based station group is adding WFRV Green Bay-Appleton, Wis., and WJMN Marquette, Mich., to its already bulging station portfolio. CBS Perry Sook says the price is less than five times projected 2010-11 cash flow, which he believes he can grow by being more agressive on retrans and through “synergistic operating improvements.”
Dan Bates, who’s been interim GM of WMBD and WYZZ since last September, becomes VP-GM of the Illinois operation.