Apollo Global Management LLC is nearing a roughly $3 billion agreement to acquire Cox Enterprises Inc.’s 14 TV stations, the biggest in a series of deals the private equity firm is lining up to become a force in U.S. broadcasting, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. Apollo is also a bidder for a portfolio of local TV stations worth about $1 billion that Nexstar Media Group plans to shed following its $4.1 billion takeover of Tribune Media. And it may snap up stations of Northwest Broadcasting.
The $45 million acquisition comprises CBS affil WWNY and WNYF-CD (Fox) Watertown, N.Y., and CBS-Fox affiliate KEYC Mankato, Minn.
The sale of KORY Eugene, Ore., from WatchTV to HC2 Holdings tops the latest list of TV station transactions submitted to the FCC for its approval, according to BIA Advisory Services.
The Justice Department has signed off on the sale of 15 TV stations from Evening Post Industries’ (EPI) Cordillera Communications to Scripps for $521 million. That came in an early termination notice Tuesday released by the Federal Trade Commission, which divvies up merger reviews. The notice means that the antitrust review has been ended early with no issues that would cause the deal to be blocked or conditioned.
In a filing with the FCC, the station group says it will ask the agency for a waiver of the rule that prohibits common ownership of two top four stations in a market. Nexstar also acknowledges that it will have to exit markets to comply with the commission’s 39% ownership cap. As things now stand, the merger would swell Nexstar’s coverage to 47.1%.
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.
KM Communications, owned by the Bae family based in Chicago, has closed on the sale announced in June 2018 of KWKB Iowa City to HC2 Holdings for $1,850,000.
Tegna, Hearst and EW Scripps are all planning on submitting final offers for Cox Media Group’s 14 TV stations at the end of January, according to people familiar with the matter. Final bids are due by Jan. 30, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. A deal could fetch more than $2 billion, and possibly close to $3 billion, the people said.
In the largest deal of the quarter and year, Nexstar Media Group announced on Dec. 3 that it would acquire all of Tribune Media’s assets for $46.50 per share. Kagan estimates the broadcast assets to be worth $3.51 billion.
In wrapping up its $3.6 billion purchase of Raycom Media, it expands its footprint to 91 markets and 24% of TV homes. In connection with the merger, Gray and Raycom also completed the divestitures of nine stations in overlap markets to Tegna, Scripps and Lockwood.