Justice OK's Nexstar's Station Spin-offs to Scripps

WASHINGTONThe Justice Department is OK with Nexstar's spin-offs of eight TV stations to Scripps, part of its deal to acquire Tribune. Scripps is buying eight stations in seven markets for $580 million.

The sale keeps Nexstar on the right side of FCC ownership limits.

That news came in an announcement by the Federal Trade Commission—which divides up merger reviews with Justice—that the Nexstar-Scripps deal was getting early termination of its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review. That means the deal raised no issues that required either blocking it or seeking conditions via filing a suit and at the same time a settlement.

(That is in addition to the deal struck with Tegna, which will pay $740 million for 11 stations, totaling $1.32 billion in total, something north of initial expectations).

Both spin-offs are contingent on the FCC approving the Nexstar-Tribune deal.

Scripps is getting Nexstar's WPIX New York (CW), KASW Phoenix (CW), WSFL Miami (CW), KSTU Salt Lake City (Fox), WTKR/WGNT Norfolk (CBS/CW), WXMI Grand Rapids and WTVR Richmond.

Justice usually coordinates its deal antitrust reviews with the FCC's more extensive public interest review, but there is no telling just when the FCC will weigh in.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio WorldTV TechTV FaxThis Week in Consumer ElectronicsVariety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.