Broadcast television station M&A neared $9 billion in 2018, according to Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, an 8 percent increase over the prior year.
Topping the list of deals is Nexstar’s pending purchase of Tribune Media, a transaction that will create a 216-station powerhouse. The deal, which also includes Tribune’s WGN America cable network, stakes in Food Network and the Chicago Cubs and more than $2 billion in debt, has been valued at about $6.4 billion. Kagan estimated the broadcast portion of the deal to be worth about $3.5 billion.
Next was Gray TV’s purchase of Raycom Media, completed on Jan. 2. Kagan valued the broadcast portion of that $3.6 billion deal at about $3.4 billion.
Other station deals include Cordillera Communications’ sale of 15 full-power and 8 low-power stations to E.W. Scripps Co. for $521.0 million; Quincy Media’s purchase of Cordillera’s NBC affiliate in Tucson, Ariz. (KVOA) for $70 million and its ABC affiliate in Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo.-Harrisburg-Mt. Vernon, Ill. (WSIL-TV) for $24.5 million; and E.W. Scripps' purchase of independent TV station WHDT in West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla., from Marksteiner AG Inc. for $25 million.