Nexstar Media Group Will Buy Tribune Media for $4.1 Billion

Merger will create the country’s largest local TV station operator

Nexstar chairman, president and CEO Perry Sook announced the company's Tribune Media acquisition this morning. Getty Images
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Nexstar Media Group announced this morning that it will acquire Tribune Media for around $4.1 billion, in a deal that will make Nexstar the country’s largest local TV station operator.

Nexstar valued the overall deal at $6.4 billion, including the assumption of Tribune Media’s outstanding debt.

The Irving, Texas-based Nexstar owns, operates or provides services to 174 TV stations in the U.S., while the Chicago-based Tribune Media owns or operates 42 local stations, as well as national cable network WGN America.

“Nexstar has long viewed the acquisition of Tribune Media as a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate value to shareholders of both companies,” said Nexstar chairman, president and CEO Perry Sook in a statement. “We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate.”

Added Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern, “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Nexstar as it provides Tribune shareholders with substantial value and a well-defined path to closing. Together with Nexstar we can better compete by delivering a nationally integrated, comprehensive and competitive offering across all our markets. We believe this combination will produce an even stronger broadcast and digital platform that builds on the accomplishments of both companies and benefits our viewers and advertisers.”

The deal comes three months after Tribune killed the $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group that had been in the works for a year-and-a-half.

First struck in May 2017, that deal would have given Sinclair—already the largest owner of local stations in the country—ownership of 233 local TV stations across the nation, including 42 Tribune stations, and access to more than 70 percent of U.S. TV-owning households.

Sinclair then spent roughly 15 months of Sinclair revising its local station divestiture plan in an effort to appease the federal government’s long-standing concerns.

After killing the Sinclair merger, Tribune then sued the broadcast giant for breach of contract, alleging that it “engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements.” Sinclair countersued a few weeks later.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.