Peter Kern, Tribune chief executive officer, said: “We’re extremely pleased with today’s vote. We look forward to continuing our work with Nexstar to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals that will enable us to close this transaction later this year.”
Nexstar, which is expected to become the industry’s largest station group when it closes on its merger with Tribune this fall, said that for the first time in its two-decade history, “non-TV revenue” from retransmission consent and digital will exceed that from TV advertising.
Political was the star, helped by increased retransmission fee and digital revenue. In fact, combined digital and retrans rev for the first time topped TV ad revenue. CEO Perry Sook: “Our inventory management and pricing strategies enabled us to maximize our share of election spending … and exceed our full-year political advertising revenue guidance. Fourth quarter television ad revenue inclusive of political advertising grew 38.9%.”
Nexstar has identified three stations it plans to sell and 11 other markets where it intends to divest stations so that its acquisition of Tribune Media can obtain regulatory approvals. The first stations going on the block are WTKR Norfolk, Va.; WGNT Portsmouth, Va,; and WNEP Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The broadcaster declares a quarterly cash dividend of $0.45 per share. The Increase marks sixth annual consecutive rise in cash dividends.
Retransmission negotiations between TDS Telecom and Nexstar Media Group are not going well, TDS’s CEO said as a channel blackout on TDS systems continued into day 16. More than 50,000 TDS customers in eight states are affected, without access to channels including ABC, CBS and Fox in certain markets.
The station group extends the contract of its founder, chairman, president and CEO in the wake of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.
Terri Lynn Bush is promoted to associate counsel and SVP of human resources while Charles W. Pautsch is named associate counsel and VP of labor and employment relations.
Nexstar Media Group, currently winding through the approval process for its $6.4 billion purchase of Tribune Media, is fighting retransmission consent battles with two small operators, TDS Telecom and Antietam Broadband, primarily over pricing disputes.