Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 13, 2013
Twenty TV stations nationwide owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp., including Austin’s KVUE, were sold to Gannett Co. on Thursday in a $2.2 billion deal.
The sale, unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, marks a return to the Gannett family for KVUE. Belo had acquired the city’s ABC affiliate from Gannett in 1999.
Gannett is the publisher of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers, in addition to owning 23 TV stations in cities such as Denver and Minneapolis, as well as Washington, D.C.
The transaction, which still requires the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, would give Gannett a total of 43 stations, making it the nation’s fourth-largest owner of major-market TV stations, reaching a third of all U.S. households, the company said.
"By enhancing our portfolio with one of the largest, most geographically diverse and network-balanced station groups in the country, the new Gannett will be well positioned to lead innovation, bolster our existing growth initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape," Gannett president and CEO Gracia Martore said in a news release.
Prior to Thursday’s announcement, Gannett’s broadcast division had no presence in Texas.
In addition to KVUE, other Belo stations in Texas include KENS in San Antonio; KHOU in Houston; and the company’s flagship station, WFAA in Dallas. Belo’s Texas Cable News channel is also based in Dallas.
"This is an outstanding and financially compelling transaction for our shareholders," Belo president and CEO Dunia Shive said in a news release. "It is also a testament to the tremendous value our employees have created over Belo’s long history and to the strength of our brand in the media industry."
Prior to KVUE, the last full-power Austin TV station to change hands was CBS affiliate KEYE, which was purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2011.