Nexstar to close Tribune Media deal on Thursday: memo

The logos of Nexstar Media Group and Tribune Media

Nexstar Media Group is expected to complete its takeover of nearly four dozen Tribune Media stations on Thursday, according to an internal memo obtained by The Desk.

Early Wednesday morning, Tribune Media Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern circulated a letter to employees of the company congratulating employees for “staying focused and performing day-to-day” while the companies were seeking regulatory approval for the sale.

“Now, as we take this next step, you may all be feeling uncertain about what your future holds,” Kern wrote. “You don’t need my advice, your behavior over the last two years demonstrates that you are all pros, but I encourage you to move forward with optimism and renewed energy for new challenges and new cultures.”

Kern said he intends to move on from the combined Nexstar-Tribune company after the deal closes.

“Whether you will be staying with Nexstar, moving on to TEGNA or Scripps, or moving on to other opportunities like me, we can all take what we learned at Tribune, the skills we honed and the relationships we built here, and carry them forward into the next leg of our journeys,” Kern wrote.

Kern’s full memo is below:

Dear Tribune Team,

Tomorrow we will likely close on our sale to Nexstar. I am truly proud of the work you have done these last couple years and I want to congratulate all of you on delivering a company that is in great shape and which will make Nexstar an even stronger company. You may not realize it, but it is unusual for a company to do such a good job of staying focused and performing day to day while in the midst of being sold. You should all be proud.

Now, as we take this next step, you may all be feeling uncertain about what your future holds. I encourage each of you to look at this transaction not as an end but as the beginning of your next chapter. Whether you will be staying with Nexstar, moving on to TEGNA or Scripps, or moving on to other opportunities like me, we can all take what we learned at Tribune, the skills we honed and the relationships we built here, and carry them forward into the next leg of our journeys. I myself took on this task as a temp – which turned into a two-and-half year gig during which I was fortunate to forge some great relationships with many of you and learn a lot from all of you. I am grateful for that experience and hope that you all move on to your next challenge better off for having spent part of your career with Tribune.

You don’t need my advice, your behavior over the last two years demonstrates that you are all pros, but I encourage you to move forward with optimism and renewed energy for new challenges and new cultures. By putting your best self out there with enthusiasm and a positive work ethic you will help make this next chapter what you want and chart your own success. I hope you will bring some of our unique Tribune DNA to the rest of the industry and I equally hope that you are open to learning and absorbing the best of other places. I wish you all much success and happiness in the coming years and will always appreciate the effort you put in for me, the board, the shareholders, and most importantly – for each other.

I bid you all a fond farewell and hope that our paths cross again.

Best regards,
Peter

Earlier this week, Nexstar secured a vote of confidence by the Federal Communications Commission, the federal agency that regulates broadcast operations in the country, with three of the commission’s five officials voting in favor of the deal.

Under the $4.1 billion takeover deal, Nexstar will acquire 42 local Tribune stations. After the deal closes, Nexstar has agreed to divest 21 of those stations to rival companies, including E.W. Scripps and TEGNA.

Among the stations Nexstar will part ways with is Tribune’s New York City station WPIX-TV (Channel 11), which is expected to be acquired by Scripps.

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