The EW Scripps Company announced today that it is in the process of acquiring eight television stations owned by the Nexstar Media Group, which is spinning off the stations as part of its merger with Tribune Media. Scripps will pay a cash consideration totalling US$580mn for the stations, which reported a blended 2017-2018 revenue of $263mn and an EBITDA of $56mn.
"This acquisition represents another step in our plan to improve the depth, reach and durability of our broadcast television station portfolio while adding nicely to the company's free cash flow generation," said Adam Symson, president and CEO of Scripps. "These stations allow us to rebalance our portfolio with meaningful assets – at an efficient price ahead of a robust political advertising season."
The purchase will grow Scripps’ portfolio to a total of 59 stations in 42 markets with a reach of nearly 30 percent of U.S. TV households. The eight stations deepen Scripps' presence in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and New York. Scripps will add its first stations in the No. 1-ranked DMA of New York City and the states of Virginia and Utah. It will now operate nine markets with more than one station, compared to four a year ago.
The stations to be acquired in the deal are:
WPIX, the No.5-ranked CW affiliate in New York City
KASW, the CW affiliate in Phoenix (which joins the Scripps ABC affiliate there)
WSFL, the CW affiliate in Miami–Fort Lauderdale (adjacent to the Scripps NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida)
KSTU, the No. 2-ranked Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City
WTKR, the No. 2-ranked CBS affiliate, and WGNT, the CW affiliate, in Norfolk, Virginia
WTVR, the No. 2-ranked CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia
WXMI, the Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan
The new stations will also increase Scripps’ capability as a political advertising platform in the 2020 Presidential Election, with five stations in Florida reaching approximately 67 percent of its households; four stations in Michigan reaching approximately 78 percent of its households; and three stations in the two largest TV markets in Virginia – including the two stations in Norfolk and one in the state capital of Richmond.
"With these acquisitions, Scripps will reach 30 percent of U.S. television households, entering Virginia and Utah for the first time," said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media. "We look forward to sharing with all of these new communities Scripps' unwavering commitment to impartial and impactful journalism."