Apollo Global Management Acquires Cox’s Television Stations Plus Radio & Newspapers In Dayton

Cox Media GroupApollo Global Management has filed its deals to acquire Cox Media Group’s television stations and their radio properties in Dayton along with Northwest Television with the FCC.

The newly created company will operate under the name Terrier Media and pay $3.1 billion for the Cox properties and 340 million for Northwest Television. Apollo will own 77% of the new company with Cox Enterprises holding the majority of the remainder and the principals of Northwest holding the rest. The company will be based out of Cox’s Atlanta headquarters and be operated by Cox’s existing management team.

Original Report 2/15: Apollo Global Management has announced it has agreed to purchase Cox Media Group’s television holdings plus their newspaper and radio properties in Dayton OH.

The deal will create a new privately owned company based in Atlanta mostly owned by Apollo, but with Cox Enterprises holding a minority stake. The deal includes Cox’s entire television portfolio of thirteen stations and one Shared Services Agreement that includes stations in the markets of Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dayton, Jacksonville, Memphis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Tulsa. Current Cox Media television management and operational structure will be retained.

The deal will also include Cox’s two newspapers and radio station cluster that includes News/Talk 1290 WHIO/95.7 WHIO-FM, Classic Hits “95.3/101.1 The Eagle” WZLR/W266BG, and Country “K99” 99.1 WHKO.

Following the spin-off, Cox Media Group will retain their radio holdings in Athens GA, Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Long Island, Orlando, San Antonio, Tampa, and Tulsa.

INSTANT INSIGHT: James Cox founded what is now Cox Media Group with the purchase of the then Dayton Evening News in 1889. WHIO would then become its first broadcast property in 1935. With the expectation that the sale of the company’s remaining radio and newspaper properties will follow, this solidifies that as the Cox family will retain minority ownership in the new Apollo led company and keeps the family’s Dayton heritage within.

Cox Enterprises Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement with funds (the “Apollo Funds”) managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo”) (NYSE: APO) to buy a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations, including the company’s radio, newspaper and TV properties in Ohio. Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake and will join the Apollo Funds in forming a new company to operate these stations, which will be headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.

Cox Media Group’s high-performing TV stations serve some of the most desirable markets in the country and reach a combined 31 million viewers nationwide. With a deep focus on investigative journalism, these TV stations are leading local news and information outlets, and cornerstones of the communities they serve. The stations, which represent Cox Media Group’s entire television portfolio, are:

WSB-TV, ABC Atlanta, Ga.
WSOC-TV, ABC Charlotte, N.C.
WHIO-TV, CBS Dayton, Ohio
WFOX-TV, FOX Jacksonville, Fla.
KOKI-TV, FOX Tulsa, Okla.
WFTV-TV, ABC Orlando, Fla.
WAXN-TV, Independent Charlotte, N.C.
KIRO-TV, CBS Seattle, Wash.
WFXT-TV, FOX Boston, Mass.
KMYT-TV, My Network Tulsa Okla.
WRDQ-TV, Independent Orlando, Fla.
WPXI-TV, NBC Pittsburgh, Pa.
WHBQ-TV FOX, Memphis, Tenn.

Cox Media Group also provides programming, sales and other operations services for WJAX-TV, CBS Jacksonville, Fla.

In addition to WHIO-TV, the Apollo Funds will acquire a majority stake in Cox Media Group’s other media platforms in Ohio:
Dayton Daily News
Springfield News-Sun Journal-News
WZLR, 95.3 FM and 101.1 FM
WHKO, 99.1 FM
WHIO, 95.7 FM and 1290 AM

Cox Enterprises began exploring strategic alternatives for the stations last July with the goal of finding a motivated strategic partner with a shared vision for the future and the resources to continue investing in the business to build scale. Apollo intends to maintain the successful management and operating structure Cox Media Group’s TV business has created.

“These stations have decades of experience breaking barriers and delivering the news and information their communities need daily,” said Alex Taylor, president and CEO, Cox Enterprises. “We wanted to find a company that is committed to investing in broadcast television now and in the future, and we found that in Apollo.”

“We are extremely excited for our funds to acquire a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations and are humbled by Cox Enterprises’ decision to entrust us to steward these stations and carry on the Cox legacy. We have an extraordinary amount of respect and admiration for the journalistic integrity, news quality, and commitment to community across Cox Media Group’s broadcast stations,” said David Sambur, Senior Partner at Apollo. “We look forward, in collaboration with Cox Enterprises, to supporting the high standards to which each station operates and contributing to the platform’s future growth and prosperity.”

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory review and closing conditions.
Barclays PLC, Moelis & Company LLC and BDT & Company, LLC served as the financial advisors and Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Covington & Burling LLP served as the legal advisors to Cox Enterprises in this transaction.

RBC Capital Markets LLC, Guggenheim Partners LLC, and LionTree Advisors, LLC served as the financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Greenberg Traurig, LLP served as the legal advisors to the Apollo Funds in this transaction.

About Apollo Global Management
Apollo is a leading global alternative investment manager with offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Bethesda, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Apollo had assets under management of approximately $280 billion as of December 31, 2018 in private equity, credit and real assets funds invested across a core group of nine industries where Apollo has considerable knowledge and resources. For more information about Apollo, please visit www.apollo.com.

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  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    To quote the AJC story about the deal (at https://www.ajc.com/business/cox-enterprises-sell-majority-stake-stations-apollo/LEmzNJc4wsdHM2L2DVhplO)…

    “Cox Media Group retains its ownership of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB radio, several other Atlanta radio stations and media properties in other markets. The operations of the AJC and the Atlanta radio properties will be unaffected by this deal.”

  2. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    And, from the Daily News story about the deal (at https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/cox-apollo-agree-form-private-company/lL2CZRt9IUDJnL3yqniJJI)…

    “The Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV and its radio stations operate jointly in a combined news-gathering and advertising business.

    “‘The thing that makes Dayton so unique is the way that media properties operate together,’ [Alex Taylor, the president and chief executive of Cox Enterprises] said in an interview Friday. ‘It’s one property.’

    “Upon transfer of the properties, there is no intent to change the way those properties operate, he said.”

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

      Just in case, the Daily News site has now put a completely unrelated story at that URL; the correct (new) URL for this story is https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/cox-apollo-agree-form-private-company/5VZlkY40OLadrua8x4LL7N.

    2. earlyriser says

      “No change”…outside of gutting news staff and resources.

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