Broadcaster Gray Television Monday acquired small, family-owned Quincy Media for $ 925 million in cash as part of a deal that will see it win stations in 102 markets reaching more than 25% of U.S. television households.
Atlanta-based Gray said on Monday that his portfolio will include the top-ranked stations in 77 markets and the top-ranked or second-ranked stations in 93 markets according to Comscore’s all-day average ratings for 2020.
Gray stocks were up 2.7% to $ 17.51 by mid-morning.
“We are honored and honored to have been selected by Quincy shareholders to acquire their great business,” said Hilton Howell, Jr., Executive Chairman and CEO of Gray. “Gray will become a stronger company with an even larger platform of high-quality television stations to better serve the public interest first.”
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The deal follows a wave of acquisitions in the resort space in recent years that have turned groups like Nexstar, Sinclair and EW Scripps into giants. Recently, Allen Media entered into broadcasting agreements.
“Many of our shareholders, directors and employees are the descendants of two families who have worked in the company for 95 years and in the media industry for over 100 years. The emphasis has always been on serving our communities with the best of news, public service and community participation. It’s a legacy we’re very proud of, ”said Ralph Oakley, CEO of the privately-held Quincy, Ill., Which has local digital stations and platforms in 16 markets, primarily in the Midwest.
The companies noted that Gray and Quincy both maintain local control over programming and operational decisions, including local news operations, programming, community engagement and public service.
Gray said the stations he will acquire are:
WPTA (ABC / NBC) and WISE (CW) in Fort Wayne, Indiana (DMA 104)
WEEK (NBC / ABC / CW) in Peoria, Illinois (DMA 118)
WREX (NBC / CW) in Rockford, Illinois (DMA 132)
KBJR (NBC / CBS) and KDLH (CW) in Duluth, Minnesota (DMA 136)
KTIV (NBC / CW) in Sioux City, Iowa (DMA 147)
KTTC (NBC / CW) in Rochester-Mason City, Minnesota-Iowa (DMA 156)
WBNG (CBS / CW) in Binghamton, New York (DMA 158)
WVVA (NBC / CW) in Bluefield-Beckley, West Virginia (DMA 162)
WGEM (NBC / FOX / CW) in Quincy, Illinois (DMA 172)
To satisfy regulators, Gray will divest Quincy stations in markets where it has overlapping stations, including Tucson, Arizona, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a few others.
Wells Fargo Securities will market the stations to third parties in transactions which may be cash sales, station exchanges, or a combination of the two.
Gray will acquire WSJV, a subsidiary of Quincy’s Heroes & Icons in South Bend, Indiana and WGEM (AM) / – FM in Quincy, Illinois.
Gray is not acquiring the Quincy newspaper business, which will be divested prior to closing. He intends to finance the transaction, net of the proceeds of the sale, with cash and / or new debt. Wells Fargo has provided a debt financing commitment for an additional loan to finance up to the total purchase price of $ 925 million.
Gray predicts that the strong free cash flow generation expected throughout 2021 will allow it to continue deleveraging after closing and expects the total debt ratio, net of all cash and net of proceeds from sales of disposals, or about 4 times lower than the operating cash flow of the eight quarters. sink.