IRVING, Texas—Nexstar Media Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a 75% ownership interest in The CW Network, LLC.
When the deal is completed, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Paramount Global, the current co-owners of The CW, will each retain a 12.5 percent ownership interest in The CW and will continue to produce original, scripted content for the network.
As previously reported (opens in new tab), negotiations to acquire a majority stake had been going on for several months. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Nexstar is the nation’s largest local television broadcasting company and the largest CW affiliate group with 37 CW and CW Plus affiliates, including affiliates in five of the top ten DMAs, accounting for 32 percent of the Network’s national reach.
In announcing the deal, Nexstar said that the proposed transaction is expected to create value for Nexstar shareholders by solidifying the Company’s revenue opportunities as the largest CW affiliate, diversifying its content outside of news, increasing its exposure to the national advertising market, establishing it as a participant in advertising video-on-demand services and improving The CW ratings, revenue, and profitability, by prioritizing programing for the Network’s broadcast audience.
Mark Pedowitz will continue to serve as The CW’s chairman and CEO, with responsibility for day-to-day operations.
“Our acquisition of The CW is strategically and operationally compelling, as it will enable us to leverage our operational experience to improve the Network’s performance through our management of this powerful national platform,” said Perry Sook, Nexstar’s chairman and CEO. “We plan to apply the same strict financial standards to operating The CW as we apply to our other businesses.”
“The CW has delivered signature programming to its broadcast and digital audiences for 16 years,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS. “Together, with our partners at Warner Bros. and The CW, we have created a welcome home for content that has resonated with viewers on the network and on platforms around the world. This new ownership structure enables us to partner with Nexstar and Warner Bros. Discovery on the next chapter of The CW while re-deploying capital to other content platforms at Paramount.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP served as legal advisors to Nexstar. Guggenheim Securities acted as financial advisor and Paul Hastings LLP served as legal advisor to Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global and The CW.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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