Tribune to buy 19 local TV stations for $2.73 billion

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Tribune Co said on Monday that it would acquire 19 television stations from Local TV Holdings LLC for $2.73 billion in cash, making it the largest TV broadcaster in the United States.

The purchase from New York private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners is another step for Tribune, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Morning Call in Allentown, in transforming itself largely to a broadcast company as it seeks to sell off its newspaper division.

Tribune, which currently has 23 television stations and eight newspapers, emerged from bankruptcy protection in December . With Local TV, Tribune will now have stations large markets like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Cleveland, Denver and Seattle and will reach the most households in the United States.

The company said the acquisition was especially important for its WGN America, a national feed of its Chicago TV stations that it repackages as a superstation and distributes through cable and satellite to more than 76 million homes.

Besides advertising revenue, TV stations get retransmission fees from cable companies looking to broadcast their programs on local TV.

“Retrans is a growing stream of revenue,” said Benchmark Co analyst Edward Atorino. “Internet revenue a few years ago was peanuts; now it’s getting into tens of millions of dollars. Mobile TV revenue is on the horizon.”

Tribune is the latest company to snap up local TV stations as the industry consolidates. Last month, Gannett Co, the largest U.S. newspaper chain, announced a deal to buy Belo Corp and its 20 local TV stations for $1.5 billion.

“Clearly there is a belief out there that TV stations are here to stay despite some skeptics,” Atorino said.

Tribune’s broadcast stations reported 2012 revenue of $1.1 billion in 2012.

In 2007, Oak Hill bought nine network-affiliated TV stations from New York Times Co for $575 million, and in 2008 it bought eight Fox network-affiliated stations from 21st Century Fox for about $1.1 billion.

Tribune said it had received financing of up to $4.1 billion from JPMorgan Chase & Co, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group. This includes a new $300 million revolving credit facility and the capacity to refinance existing debt.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…