Kagan: 2018 a big year for TV & radio M&A

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US broadcast station mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume reached $4.31 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, as tracked by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In the largest deal of the quarter and year, Nexstar Media Group announced on December 3rd 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.

Ranking second in deal value for the year was the $3.44 billion merger of Gray Television and Raycom Media from the second quarter. The top radio deal of the fourth quarter was the Hubbard Radio’s $88 million purchase of Alpha Media. It also ranked as the second-largest radio deal of 2018, topped only by Bonneville International Corp.’s $141 million purchase of eight radio stations from Entercom Communications in August.

In total, 2018 closed with an $8.87 billion deal volume for US broadcast station M&A, representing an increase of 8 per cent compared to 2017.

Other leading TV station M&A in the fourth quarter:

  • On October 29th, Cordillera Communications announced the sale of all but one of its TV stations to E.W. Scripps for $521 million. In addition to 15 main programming stations, the deal comes with eight low-power translators.
  • The only Cordillera station not sold to E. W. Scripps was NBC affiliate KVOA in Tucson, Ariz., as Scripps already owns the ABC and CW affiliates in that market. Instead, on November 9th, Cordillera filed the sale of its last station to Quincy Media for $70 million.
  • Earlier, on October 31st Quincy Media also agreed to buy WSIL-TV, the ABC affiliate in the Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo.-Harrisburg-Mt. Vernon, Ill. market, coming with a full-power and a low-power translator, for a total of $24.5 million.
  • On December 4th, following the Cordillera purchase, E.W. Scripps also agreed to buy independent TV station WHDT in the West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla., market from Marksteiner for $25 million.

The only significant radio deal in the fourth quarter was Hubbard Radio’s $88 million purchase of Alpha Media’s largest cluster by revenue, comprising six stations in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla. market. The quarter featured eight other radio deals worth over one million dollars each, the largest being Saga Communications Inc.’s purchase of four FM stations in the Gainesville-Ocala, Fla., market from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation LLC for $9.3 million.


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