Tribune buying WTVR, 18 other Local TV stations

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jul 01, 2013

Tribune Company and Local TV Holdings, LLC announced Monday they have entered into a definitive agreement for Tribune to acquire all of Local TV’s 19 television stations in 16 markets for $2.725 billion in cash.

CBS 6 Richmond Va. Logo WTVR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia, is owned by Local TV LLC and is included in the sale. WTKR-TV and WGNT-TV, the CBS and CW stations in Norfolk, are also part of the deal.

Coupled with Tribune’s current 23 television stations, superstation WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures and its eight major market newspapers, the transaction makes Tribune a multi-platform content and distribution powerhouse.

Local TV is principally owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Upon closing, the acquisition will immediately transform Tribune into the country’s largest commercial TV station owner, with a total of 42 stations from New York to Los Angeles and Miami to Seattle.

Most of Local TV’s stations are ranked #1 or #2 in revenue share in their respective markets, so the transaction will generate significant free cash flow and be immediately accretive to Tribune’s earnings.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune—it makes us the #1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content, and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country,”  said Peter Liguori, Tribune’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Bobby Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of Local TV, said that the two companies have already had a long, successful relationship over the last five years.

"Our cultures and operating philosophies are very similar, and we share a strong commitment to news and local programming excellence," said  Lawrence. "My management team will dearly miss working with some of the most talented and dedicated people in broadcasting, but we know we leave our employees in good hands. I am grateful to our partners at Oak Hill Capital, who acquired the finest stations in the industry and helped us build this great company.”

Jonathan Friesel and Benjamin Diesbach, Partners at Oak Hill Capital, jointly thanked the entire Local TV family for their outstanding dedication and performance.

"During our partnership together, Local TV has delivered extraordinary growth and become a world-class broadcaster known for its quality programming, technological innovation and strong community service,” the pair said in a statement.

Tribune’s broadcast portfolio will increase from 23 to 42 stations, and include 14 CW affiliates, 14 Fox affiliates, 5 CBS affiliates, 3 ABC affiliates, 2 NBC affiliates and 4 independents. Tribune will own 14 stations in the country’s top 20 markets.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of both Tribune and Local TV and is expected to close by the end of 2013, subject to antitrust and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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