Gray Buys Stations in Flint, Toledo For $128M

Gray is buying the ABC affiliates from George Lilly's SJL Holdings in an all-cash deal. Lilly had bought the stations from ABC just our years ago for $30 million.

Gray Television is buying ABC affiliates WJRT Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich. (DMA 68) and WTVG Toledo, Ohio (DMA 76) from SJL Holdings for approximately $128 million in cash, the publicly traded station group announced this morning.

According to Gray, the stations lead their local markets in all-day ratings and in most, if not all, local newscasts.

“We are very excited to add two more outstanding, community-focused television stations and their growing, dynamic markets to the Gray portfolio,” said Gray CEO Hilton Howell in a prepared statement.

“Under SJL’s stewardship, these stations have grown their news operations, ratings, revenue, and income at very impressive levels. With Gray’s backing and the strong teams already in place in Flint and Toledo, WJRT-TV and WTVG-TV will enhance their leading local positions even further.”

The deal is another big score for George Lilly, who owns SJL Holdings. He bought the stations from ABC in 2010 for $30 million after having sold them to ABC for $120 million in 1995.

According to Gray, the purchase price represents a multiple of approximately seven times a blended average of 2012-2013 pro forma broadcast cash flow of the stations including expected synergies.


As such, Gray’s acquisitions will be immediately free cash flow accretive, the station group said.

Gray expects to finance the transaction with new term loans, cash on hand and/or by accessing the capital markets. 

Gray said it plans to add a subchannel with a CW affiliation to WTVG.

Comments (6)

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Joe Jaime says:

July 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

George is a great horse trader!!

Dale Godfrey says:

July 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

George has come a L-O-N-G way from Roy Park’s “TV Guy” back in the early 80’s, to a multi-mega-millionaire today!
Well done, Sir. Congratulations!

Linda Leavell says:

July 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

What’s Next for Gray, buying WT05 from Buckeye Cable?

Joanne McDonald says:

July 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I say bravo to Gray and I wish Gray the best in Toledo where Gray can have the best luck in negotiating with Buckeye Cable for retransmission consent contracts to carry WTVG compared to what David Smith, Barry Faber, David Amy with their connection to Sinclair Broadcast Group were doing with Buckeye Cable for carriage of WNWO. I do not have a problem with Gray Television where I have problems with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Gray managed to fix the problem of KHAS NBC programming by placing the programming on KOLN/KGIN 10/11 DT .2 digital subchannel with 10/11 CBS programming on DT .1 channel & 10/11 Central Nebraska MYME on DT .3 digital subchannel in the Lincoln-Grand Island-Hastings-Kearney TV DMA more sooner than Sinclair fixing the problem with Buckeye Cable for the contract to carry WNWO NBC programming in the Toledo TV DMA. In Flint it is Gray with WJRT airing ABC while Sinclair it is WEYI with NBC, WBSF with CW, and WSMH with FOX. In Toledo it is Gray with WTVG with ABC and CW while Sinclair it is WNWO with NBC. In Colorado Springs it is Gray with KKTV with CBS while Sinclair it is KXRM with FOX and CW. in Wichita it is Gray with ABC while Sinclair it is KSAS with FOX and KMTW with MYNET. In Omaha it is Gray with WOWT with NBC while Sinclair it is KPTM with FOX and KXVO with CW.

    Cameron Miller says:

    August 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm


    Cameron Miller says:

    August 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    *I mean to say FUCK OFF*