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Tribune acquires Local TV Holdings creating local TV titan

The Tribune Company will acquire all of Local TV Holdings’ 19 television stations in 16 markets for $2.725 billion in cash, the companies jointly announced July 1.

When the deal closes, Tribune will become one of the country’s largest commercial TV station owners, with 42 stations from New York to Los Angeles and Miami to Seattle.

According to the announcement, the sheer scale of the acquisition will give Tribune a way to maximize national and local advertising opportunities and take advantage of a larger footprint.

Among the benefits Tribune envisions realizing from the deal are:

  • Greater opportunities to deliver news and entertainment to millions of viewers nationwide;
  • Strengthening local news coverage and programming by adding heritage stations with local news broadcasts consistently ranked first or second in the morning and evening;
  • Creating new advertising opportunities in key political battleground states;
  • Extending the distribution platform for original content generated by Tribune Studios and the digital offerings to be created by Tribune Digital Ventures into new large, growing markets;
  • Diversifying geographies and network affiliations, including the addition of seven FOX, five CBS, two ABC and two NBC stations, while strengthening its relationships with cable operators and satellite providers;
  • Delivering better economies of scale and strategic operating efficiencies.

Coupled with Tribune’s current 23 television stations, superstation WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures and its eight major market newspapers, the transaction makes Tribune a multi-platform content and distribution powerhouse. It also will make Tribune the No. 1 Fox affiliate group and expand its position as the No. 1 CW affiliate group.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of both Tribune and Local TV and is expected to close by the end of 2013, subject to antitrust and FCC approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Local TV is principally owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners.