Media General to Acquire Four NBCU Stations

Apr 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal and Media General said Thursday they have reached a definitive agreement under which Media General will pay $600 million to acquire four NBCU-owned television stations.

As part of the deal, Media General also announced that it will sell four CBS-affiliated stations in order to secure an approval of the NBCU deal from the Federal Communications Commission.

The NBCU stations that Media General is acquiring are WNCN-TV in Raleigh, N.C. (market No. 29); WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio (32); WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Ala. (40); and WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I. (51). The sale price put the stations’ value at about 14 times 2004-05 cash flow, which is around where other station sales have been executed as well.

To ensure the deal goes through, Media General said it hopes by year-end to sell CBS affiliates WIAT-TV in Birmingham; KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa; WDEF-TV in Chattanooga, Tenn.; and KWCH-TV in Wichita, Kan., which includes three satellite stations that carry KWCH’s signal-KBSD-TV, KBSH-TV and KBSL-TV.

The sale comes as NBCU looks to improve the distribution of its Spanish-language network Telemundo, create more duopolies of NBC and Telemundo stations and concentrate on owning stations in areas experiencing rapid Hispanic population expansion.

It also comes at a time when stations are being sold at robust cash-flow multiples, as evidenced by the recent sales of Emmis Communications’ stations and all of Liberty Corp. to Raycom Media. NBCU already has purchased a TV station in Las Vegas and is involved in a swap deal for a full-power station in Phoenix for Telemundo. The company is also keen on acquiring a full-power station in Denver.

For Media General, the sale bolsters its presence in the Southeast by adding the Raleigh market to its roster of 26 stations. The Columbus and Providence stations enable Media General to expand into other regions of the United States, the company said.