Cordillera Officially Exits the Broadcasting Business

Sells 15 of its 16 stations to Scripps, 16th to Quincy
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CINCINNATI –Cordillera Communications has announced the sale of 15 of 16 of its TV stations to the E.W. Scripps Company and the 16th Tucson station to Quincy Media, Inc. The deal marks the exit of the St. Paul, Minn.-based station group–which is owned by Charleston, S.C. company Evening Post Industries–from the broadcasting business. Cordillera had announced in August that it had planned to sell its stations. The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 is valued at $521, and subject to federal regulatory approvals.

The acquisitions in 10 markets grows the Scripps local television station footprint to 51 stations in 36 markets with a reach of nearly 21 percent of U.S. TV households. Scripps is not buying Cordillera’s remaining station–NBC affiliate KVOA-TV in Tucson, Ariz.because Scripps already operates a duopoly in that market. There are no other overlapping markets.

All but one of the acquired stations rank No. 1 in their markets. It also adds depth to its local media footprint through the addition of three duopolies-–in Helena and Great Falls, Montana, and Corpus Christi, Texas, according to Scripps.

The stations also diversify Scripps’ affiliate relationships, adding more NBC and CBS stations to Scripps’ strong ABC roster.

“Through this transaction, Scripps will operate the No. 1-rated TV stations in a third of its markets, enhancing the durability of our portfolio,” said Brian Lawlor, president of the Local Media division of Scripps. “The acquisition also allows us to go deeper in new markets with the addition of three new duopolies, including two with Big Four combinations.”

After the acquisition, Scripps will have the No. 1 Nielsen-rated TV stations in 11 of its 36 markets with 18 ABC stations, 11 NBC stations, seven CBS stations and two Fox stations. Scripps will operate seven duopolies.

The stations Scripps is acquiring are:

  • WLEX, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky
  • KOAA, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • KATC, the ABC affiliate in Lafayette, Louisiana
  • KSBY, the NBC affiliate in Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, California
  • KRIS, the NBC affiliate, and KAJA, a Telemundo affiliate, in Corpus Christi, Texas
  • KPAX and KAJJ, a CBS affiliate in Missoula, Montana
  • KTVQ, a CBS affiliate in Billings, Montana
  • KXLF/KBZK, the CBS affiliate in Butte-Bozeman, Montana
  • KRTV, the CBS affiliate, and KTGF, the NBC affiliate, in Great Falls, Montana
  • KTVH, the NBC affiliate, and KXLH, the CBS affiliate, in Helena, Montana

The 10 Cordillera markets have about 700 employees.

“Our stations are as strong as they’ve been across any point in our 32-year history,” said Terry Hurley, president of Cordillera. “We’ve had a good run, and we’re proud of how our stations have excelled over the years. We’re also heartened to know they’ll continue to be in exceptional hands.”

The company had indicated that it was exiting the broadcast business following the spectrum auctions in 2017, which it said “generated significant interest from established parties throughout the country”

“The two buyers represent the best possible scenario: They are poised to grow the stations and empower them to compete in this changing media landscape, and, more importantly, they will provide a great home and opportunities for the dedicated employees of Cordillera,” Hurley said.

Methuselah Advisors acted as financial advisor.