Nexstar Agrees to Acquire WEHT, Swapping Fox for ABC in Evansville

By Merrill Knox Comment

Nexstar Broadcasting has announced  an agreement to buy WEHT, the Evansville, IN ABC affiliate, from Gilmore Broadcasting for $18.5 million.

Nexstar will finance the purchase by divesting assets of WTVW — the Nexstar-owned independent station in Evansville — to Mission Broadcasting, which is a company set up by Nexstar to operate duopolies in 13 other markets. This transaction will provide a local services agreement between Mission and Nexstar, allowing WTVW and WEHT to share services in Evansville.

The two agreements are a result of WTVW losing its Fox affiliation last month after a long battle with Nexstar over retransmission fees. Evansville is one of four markets — including Terre Haute and Fort Wayne, IN, and Springfield, MO — where Nexstar and Fox have parted ways.

The purchase of WEHT is pending FCC approval and is expected to close by the end of 2011.