Report: Sinclair approaches Tribune Media about possible deal

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    Bill Recto

    Here is an update on the Sinclair/Tribune talks by Bloomberg.

    Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is aiming to acquire Tribune Media Co., owner of TV stations in big media markets including New York, Chicago and Miami, for a per-share price in the high $30s, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Sinclair is working to finalize a deal on or before the same day Tribune reports first-quarter earnings, which is slated for the week of May 8, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Shares of Chicago-based Tribune closed at $37.70 on Tuesday, giving it a market capitalization of about $3.3 billion.

    Shares of Tribune jumped as much as 6.1 percent to $40.01 in New York, while Sinclair rose 5.1 percent.

    Final terms of a transaction between Sinclair and Tribune haven’t been agreed upon, and a deal could still fall apart, the people said. A Tribune spokesman declined to comment. Sinclair didn’t respond to requests for comment.

    With more friendly rules governing ownership concentration in broadcasting expected from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Tribune may have options beyond Sinclair. Other buyers are interested in Tribune, according to one person familiar with the matter. As earlier reported by Bloomberg, Nexstar Media Group Inc. has considered a bid for Tribune. Nexstar has a history of laying in wait for a potential deal, striking an agreement to acquire Media General Inc. in 2015 only after Media General had announced plans to merge with Meredith Corp.

    Tribune, which owns 42 local-TV stations and the WGN America cable network, could even emerge as a buyer itself in what is expected to be a media merger spree in 2017.

    But a theoretical marriage between Sinclair and Tribune, two of the largest local TV station owners in the U.S., hangs on a vote Thursday by the FCC to restore the so-called UHF discount — which would make it possible for the combined entity to stay under a cap that limits coverage of the country by a single station owner to 39 percent.

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    Bill Recto


    Update Sinclair has Bonten Television for $240 Million




    The deal will add Bonten Media Group’s 14 stations in eight markets that reach approximately 1% of the U.S. TV households. Sinclair’s total coverage now stands at 39.6%.
    By Harry A. Jessell
    TVNewsCheck, April 21, 2017 9:39 AM EDT
    Sinclair Broadcast Group today announced the acquisition of 14 stations in eight markets from Bonten Media for $240 million.

    The deal takes advantage of the FCC decision yesterday to restore the UHF discount in calculating station group coverage for purposes of the FCC’s national ownership cap on station group coverage — 39% of TV households.

    “We look forward to welcoming the Bonten employees into the Sinclair family and are pleased to be growing our regional presence in several states where we already operate,” said Chris Ripley, president-CEO of Sinclair. “We believe our economies of scale help us bring improvements to small market stations, including investments in news, other quality local programming, and multicast opportunities with our emerging networks of Comet, Charge! and TBD.”

    Including the Bonten station acquisitions, all previously announced acquisitions and pro forma for expected synergies, Sinclair’s 2015 and 2016 media revenues would have been $2.236 billion and $2.620 billion, respectively, the company said. “The $240 million purchase price represents a 6.7x multiple and is expected to be on average approximately $25 million accretive to our free cash flow on an annualized basis.”

    The Bonten stations add about 1% to Sinclair’s total reach, Sinclair said.

    Without the discount, the deal would put Sinclair above the cap at 39.6%. But with the cap, it remains well below the cap at around 25%.

    Veteran broadcaster Randy Bongarten, backed by the Diamond Castle private equity firm, formed Bonten Media in 2007 by purchasing Bluestone Television for $230 million.The old Bluestone station still form the backbone of the group.

    Through duopoly partner Esteem Broadcasting, Bonten added Fox affiliates in Greenville, N.C., and Chico-Redding, Calif. Esteem owns the stations, but Bonten operates them through joint sales and shared services agreements.


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    Not included in the deal is WFXI, one of Esteem’s two Fox affiliates in Greenville. WFXI was sold in the FCC incentive auction for $42.1 million.

    Profile photo of Bill Recto
    Bill Recto
    Profile photo of Bill Recto
    Bill Recto

    Update on the Sinclair deal with Tribune they have a May 8 deadline for deal go through.

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    Bill Recto


    May 8th deadline is floating around for the Sinclair/Tribune deal to go through.

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