DOJ Tells Nexstar to Divest 7 to Get Approval for Media General Buy

By Kevin Eck 

The Department of Justice says Nexstar Broadcasting needs to divest itself of seven stations before getting approval for its $4.6 billion acquisition of Media General.

The DOJ’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the sale at the same time it proposed the settlement to solve what it called the “competitive harm” in the lawsuit.

“As originally structured, this transaction would have given Nexstar the power to impose higher prices on local and national advertisers and to demand higher retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies in six markets,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s settlement will protect advertisers, MVPDs and consumers – who ultimately would have borne many of these increased costs – by ensuring that Nexstar does not obtain undue bargaining leverage when negotiating broadcast television spot advertising prices and retransmission fees.”

The department says Nexstar must divest itself the following stations to the following approved buyers: WBAY in Green Bay, Wisc., and KWQC in Quad Cities to Gray Television; WSLS in Roanoke, Va., to Graham Holdings; KADN and KLAF in Lafayette, La., to Bayou Broadcasting Lafayette, Inc.; and WTHI in Terre Haute, Ind., and WFFT in Fort Wayne, Ind., to USA Television MidAmerica Holdings.