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.
Tribune Media and Charter’s Spectrum cable systems have agreed to extend the deadline for their carriage contract to 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, averting a blackout of 33 TV stations that would have taken effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
The spinoffs necessary for regulatory approval will include stations in at least 13 of 15 markets: Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith, Ark; Davenport, Iowa; Memphis, Grand Rapids, Mich; Indianapolis, Huntsville, Ala; Hartford, Conn.; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hagerstown, Md.; Richmond, Va; and Norfold, Va. Nexstar CEO Perry Sook says he expects those spinoffs will sell for around $1 billion.
Nexstar Media Group has reached an agreement to acquire Tribune Media for about $4.1 billion, a deal which would make it the largest local U.S. TV station operator, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Reuters is reporting that Northwest Broadcasting’s Brian Brady is joining forces with private equity Apollo Global Management to make a bid for Tribune Media. The report also says that Nexstar is in the Tribune chase and that if it fails it will turn its sights on Cox Media’s TV group, which includes three Top 25 ABC affiliates.
Bidding on two prime collections of local TV assets — Fox’s 22 regional sports networks and Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations and WGN America — will heat up this week in separate auctions that are expected to be concluded by year’s end. The nature of the players lining up for these properties, which include Amazon and private equity heavyweights, speaks volumes about the transformation of media economics, particularly for outlets that have historically operated with a narrow regional focus.
Voluntary buyouts are being offered to employees of WGN-TV Chicago and news/talk WGN-AM as part of a year-end staff reduction throughout parent company Tribune Media. The move comes despite an 11% increase in third quarter revenues and a “strong operational year” for the company.
Sinclair, which suffered a blow in July when federal regulators stopped its proposed $6.6 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, has been quietly speaking to buyout firms, including Apollo Global Management, about teaming on a new bid for the Chicago-based rival. But so far, it continues to be shut out of the high-stakes media consolidation game and hasn’t been successful in shaping a buyout-backed offer, two sources say.
Ion Media — a privately held operator of 70 stations across the US — has joined buyout firm Cerberus Capital and Hicks Equity Partners in a bid to buy Tribune Media, according to a source close to the situation.