Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NYT: Political ad spending spurs local TV mergers

A surge in political advertising spending for the 2012 campaigns has driven a recent flurry of TV station sales, according to this new story in The New York Times.

The torrent began in September when the Sinclair Broadcast Group bought seven local stations from the Four Points Media Group for $200 million, and it continued last month when E.W. Scripps Co. bought nine stations from McGraw-Hill for $212 million.

Last week, in the single biggest television station acquisition in four years, Sinclair bought eight stations owned by Freedom Communications for $385 million, the NYT says.

A Wall Street analyst asked CEO Gracia Martore during last month's earnings conference call whether Gannett was a participant in any of the recent bidding. Here's what she said, according to Corporate's transcript:

"We would never discuss whether we were in and out of any bidding, but what it appears is that those recent transactions, we've done some quick math on it, but it's a little hard to decipher all of the moving pieces, but it looks like they been going in the 10 times or so, average EBITDA range. That speaks to the value of the terrific portfolio of 23 stations that we already own and the total value of the total portfolio of Gannett properties. That's why we are buying back stock -- because we believe those values aren't appropriately reflected in our share price. So, they were interesting transactions. We love our television stations. We, again, on the acquisition side, if there were opportunities to do duopolies that made good sense for us, we certainly would take a hard look at that."

1 comment:

  1. I think station value (or lack thereof) is more the metric for the sales. We're not talking big markets here. It's more a shuffling of the deck.

    In the Freedom Communications sale, the stations don't even cover 3% of the US. Freedom will go the way of the Chandlers in LA and the Pulliams in Indy and Phoenix. If they choose to go piecemeal, so be it. At least they partially cashed in a decade ago.


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