This week Nexstar announced plans to sell 14 stations according to an FCC filing. This is part of a $6.4 billion deal to buy Tribune’s ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC stations. This deal will add more than 40 stations to Nexstar’s list of locals including KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in New York, and WGN-TV in Chicago. (Note: WGN-TV has been up for sale separately and, at the time of this posting, its inclusion is uncertain.)
To help avoid any anti-trust issues, Nexstar announced plans to sell 14 stations starting with WTKR-TV, Norfolk, Va.; WGNT-TV, Portsmouth, Va.; and WNEP-TV, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Nexstar will also need to find ways to address issues with overlapping markets where Nexstar and Tribune both own stations: Davenport, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith, Ark.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Indianapolis, In.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
When the deal was first announced, Perry Sook, chairman, president, and CEO of Nexstar, commented, “Nexstar has long viewed the acquisition of Tribune Media as a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate value to shareholders of both companies. We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate. As with our past transactions, we have developed a comprehensive regulatory compliance plan and believe we have a clear path to closing. With committed financing and a plan for significant synergy realization that will result in only a minimal increase in Nexstar’s pro-forma leverage, the combined entity will be poised for growth, leverage reduction and increased capital returns for shareholders.”
For now, the deal if far from done, but Tribune and Nexstar seem to be working hard to make the deal a reality.
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