Dismiss, deny and reject. That was Nexstar and Tribune’s advice to the FCC related to the various parties that petitioned the FCC to block their merger as not in the public interest. They were responding to petitions to deny filed six groups and concerns raised by NCTA—The Internet & Television Association and the American Television Alliance, both of which said that without various conditions the deal should be denied.
A black-owned TV company sued Nexstar Media Group on Wednesday, accusing the company of sabotaging its efforts to operate independently. Marshall Broadcasting Group owns three Fox affiliates in Odessa, Texas; Shreveport, La.; and Davenport, Iowa. The company, owned by Pluria Marshall Jr., bought the stations from Nexstar in 2014, as Nexstar was looking to divest in order to win FCC approval for a series of acquisitions.
With the new broadcast that will launch this fall, Nexstar’s Indianapolis CW affil will provide 75 hours of local news and programming per week.
The spinoffs reflect Nexstar’s regulatory compliance plan to secure approvals for its Tribune Media deal. Tegna is buying 11 stations in eight markets and Scripps gets eight stations in seven markets.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has decided not to bid for a group of television stations being sold by Nexstar Media Group, according to a person familiar with the situation. The company, which will be spun out of a separate deal with Walt Disney Co. next week, is focusing instead on getting better terms on the deals it has with affiliate stations, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
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.