Advanced Television

Gray, Raycom combine

June 26, 2018

Gray Television and Raycom Media, an employee-owned company, have jointly announced that they have entered into an agreement to combine their companies in a transformative transaction that will create the single largest owner of top-rated local television stations and digital assets in the US. The deal is worth $3.65 billion.

This transaction marks Gray’s transformation from a small, regional broadcaster into a leading media company with nationwide scale based on high-quality stations with exceptional talent in attractive markets. Gray and Raycom have highly complementary portfolios of television stations as well as highly complementary company cultures, award-winning journalistic commitments, and long histories of commitments to exceptional community service. Gray in particular is delighted to announce that, upon the closing, Raycom President and CEO, Pat LaPlatney, will become Gray’s President and Co-Chief Executive Officer. In addition,  LaPlatney and Raycom’s former President and CEO, Paul McTear, both of whom are currently members of Raycom’s Board of Directors, will join Gray’s Board of Directors.  At that time, Hilton Howell will become Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Gray.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The parties expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Gray also announced that, on July 1st, Bob Smith will become its Chief Operating Officer and Nick Waller will become its Chief Administrative Officer. Currently, they serve as Co-Chief Operating Officers.  In his new role, Smith will oversee station operations and sales operations through the closing of the transaction. During that period, Waller will oversee human resources, information technology, traffic and CRM systems, capital projects, and performance benchmarking. He will also focus on the transition and integration of pending acquisitions.

The combination will create a dynamic broadcaster with meaningful scale, significant operating leverage, and a compelling portfolio of high quality assets.  In particular, the combined company will consist of the following broadcast assets, giving effect to all other pending acquisitions by both companies and prior to any divestitures:

  • 142 full-power television stations serving 92 markets, the third largest portfolio of stations and markets in the country.
  • A high-quality station portfolio that reaches 24 percent of US television households, ranging from large markets such as Tampa-Sarasota, Cleveland, and Charlotte, to some of the smallest markets like Ottumwa, Fairbanks, Presque Isle and North Platte.
  • 62 television stations ranked first in all-day Nielsen ratings in their local markets, which is the highest number of top-ranked television stations owned by any broadcaster.
  • 92 per cent of markets with the #1 or the #2 Nielsen rated local television station.
  • Nearly 400 separate programme streams including approximately 165 affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, and over 100 affiliates of CW, MyNetwork, and MeTV.

In addition to high quality television stations, Gray will acquire several additional Raycom businesses that will result in a more diversified media company. These businesses include:

  • Raycom Sports, a marketing, production and events management and distribution company.
  • Tupelo Raycom, a sports and entertainment production company.
  • RTM Productions, an automotive programming production and marketing solutions company.
  • Broadview Media, a post-production/digital signage company.

Raycom has initiated processes to sell or spin off Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI), which owns community newspapers and information products including over 100 titles located in 23 states, as well as PureCars, a digital ad platform for the automotive industry. As a result, Gray will not acquire either CNHI or PureCars as part of this transaction.

Excluding CNHI and PureCars, the combined net revenue of both companies on a blended 2016/2017 basis would total approximately $2 billion.

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, M&A