Three Austin TV stations are in line to get a new owner — and it’s not the company everyone was expecting.
Virginia-based Media General, which operates NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO, is being acquired by Irving-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group in a deal valued at $4.6 billion in cash and stock, according to an announcement made Wednesday.
The new company will be named Nexstar Media Group and will have 171 full-power TV stations in 100 U.S. TV markets.
Last year, Media General had agreed to merge with Iowa-based Meredith Corp. That deal almost immediately hit a series of roadblocks when Nexstar executives made a counteroffer. They were rebuffed initially, but criticism from key Media General stockholders steadily grew.
The breakup up with Meredith will cost Media General $60 million. Meredith will also get first dibs on buying any stations Nexstar is required to sell off in markets where it overlaps with Media General. TVSpy.com reports those markets will likely include Roanoke, Va; Green Bay, Wis.; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lafayette, La.; and Terre Haute, Ind.
"Together with Nexstar, we can deliver a more comprehensive, integrated and competitive offering across all markets for the benefit of our advertisers and brands," Media General president and CEO Vincent Sadusky said in a written statement. "I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our talented employees, and I’m confident they will continue to make many valuable contributions as part of a larger and stronger organization. I look forward to working closely with the Nexstar team to bring our companies together to realize the power of this compelling combination and ensure a smooth transition."
In Texas, KXAN, KNVA and KBVO are Media General’s only stations. Nexstar, however, owns several more, including ones in Abilene, Amarillo, College Station, El Paso, Harlingen, Lufkin, Midland, San Angelo, Tyler, Waco and Wichita Falls.
Through a contract with Four Points Media Group, Nexstar briefly operated Austin CBS affiliate KEYE beginning in 2009. That deal ended, though, when Four Points was sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group, KEYE’s current owner, in 2011.
"The acquisition of Media General’s broadcasting and digital media assets represent a transformational growth opportunity for Nexstar and is strategically and financially compelling," Nexstar president and CEO Perry Sook said in a written statement. "The transaction increases Nexstar’s broadcast portfolio by approximately two thirds with very limited overlap with our existing properties, more than doubles our audience reach, provides entrée to 15 new top-50 (markets) and offers synergies related to the increased scale of the combined digital media operations."
Austin represents one of those new top-50 markets Sook mentioned, ranking 39th in the nation, according to Nielsen, with 745,640 TV households.
The Media General deal is expected to close in either the third or fourth quarter of this year, Nexstar said.