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In $6.4 bn deal with debt, Nexstar to acquire Tribune Media

By Sheetal Sukhija, Illinois State News
04 Dec 2018, 07:50 GMT+10

TEXAS, U.S. - In a deal worth $6.4 billion including debt, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group Inc has confirmed its plans to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Media Company.

In a statement on Monday, Nexstar announced that it had agreed to acquire Tribune Media for $4.1 billion.

The takeover price amounts to $6.4 billion including the assumption of debt.

The deal, which was officially announced by both the companies on Monday, is set to create the largest operator of local television stations in the U.S.

Making the announcement, Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar said, "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 todays rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate."

He added, "The transaction offers synergies related to the enhanced scale of the combined broadcast and digital media operations, and increases our audience reach by approximately 50 percent. Furthermore, the addition of the Tribune Media broadcast assets further expands our geographic diversity, as pro forma for the completion of the transaction, we will serve 18 of the nations top 25 markets and 37 of the top 50 markets."

Currently, the Irving, Texas-based Nexstar owns, operates and provides services to 174 TV stations in 58 markets, reaching nearly 39 percent of all U.S. TV households.

Meanwhile, Tribune has 42 TV stations that reach approximately 50 million households.

It also owns national entertainment cable network WGN America, which reaches over 77 million households, and a number of websites.

The Chicago-based company also has a stake in the Food Network.

Peter Kern, CEO, Tribune Media said in a statement, "We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Nexstar as it provides Tribune shareholders with substantial value and a well-defined path to closing."

Kern added, "Together with Nexstar we can better compete by delivering a nationally integrated, comprehensive and competitive offering across all our markets. We believe this combination will produce an even stronger broadcast and digital platform that builds on the accomplishments of both companies and benefits our viewers and advertisers."

He said, "The premium value our shareholders are receiving reflects the hard work of our dedicated Tribune employees in maximizing the value of our portfolio. I look forward to working closely with the Nexstar team to deliver on the value of this compelling combination and to ensure a smooth transition and integration of our companies."

The deal announced on Monday, was first disclosed by Reuters, and comes three months after Tribune's planned sale to the Sinclair Broadcast Group for $3.9 billion failed over regulatory hurdles.

Nexstar pointed out in its statement that the transaction was subject to approvals by Tribunes shareholders, the Federal Communications Commission and other regulators.

The companies also pointed out that the deal is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2019.

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