Raycom Agrees to Buy Station Group Liberty Corp.

Aug 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Television station owner Liberty Corp. said Thursday that it has agreed to be acquired by privately held Raycom Media in a cash deal valued at $987 million.

The deal comes on the heels of the three-way $681 million sale by Emmis Communications of nine television stations to LIN TV, Gray Television and Journal Communications.

As part of the Liberty deal, Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom will pay $47.35 a share to purchase Liberty, which owns 15 network-affiliated television stations, plus the assumption of $110 million in debt. The purchase price represents a 26 percent premium over Liberty’s Thursday closing price of $37.45 a share.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Raycom owns 37 television stations, covering around 10 percent of the country.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and must get the OK from Liberty’s shareholders. Liberty officials said that shareholders owning 20 percent of the company’s outstanding stock have already thrown their support behind the deal.

Liberty Chairman and CEO Hayne Hipp said the decision to sell to Raycom came after the company’s board reviewed a range of strategic alternatives for the company.

Raycom President and CEO Paul McTear said the merger was in keeping with his company’s long-term strategy to build up its presence in small and midsize markets, where Liberty and Raycom both operate stations.