Media giant Meredith Corporation is exploring a sale of its local broadcast television stations and has hired a financial advisor to help the company weigh its options, according to a report.
On Tuesday, financial news outlet Bloomberg broke the story based on information provided by unnamed sources. Officials at Meredith Corporation have not commented on the report, which said the company could sell off its 17 local television stations as part of a shift in focus toward its magazine and digital businesses.
Merdith’s broadcast television stations reach more than 10 percent of the United States. The company owns local broadcast stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon; it does not operate any television stations in California.
Bloomberg said a sale of the stations could help Meredith reduce some of its $3 billion in debt, some of which was acquired as part of the company’s decision to buy Time Magazine from Koch Equity for $1.8 billion in 2018. (Meredith later sold Time to Marc Benioff, the co-founder of Salesforce.com, for a mere $190 million.)
The financial news outlet did not say if anyone had expressed interest in acquiring the stations from Meredith. In recent years, companies like E. W. Scripps, Nexstar Media Group and Fox Corporation have gobbled up local broadcast outlets in a bid to solidify a national footprint of over-the-air television stations, which helps generate advertisement revenue and secure lucrative re-transmission consent agreements from cable and satellite companies
One possible suitor includes Allen Media Group, the broadcast company spearheaded by comedian-turned-media mogul Byron Allen. Earlier this year, the website TV News Check reported Allen had committed $10 billion toward a mergers and acquisitions strategy focused on buying affiliates of the “big four” broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) and was considering a purchase of stations from three companies, including Meredith.
In addition to the television stations, Meredith publishes more than a dozen well-known gossip and lifestyle magazines, including the celebrity-focused People, do-it-yourself publication Better Homes & Gardens, fitness-focused Shape and Martha Stewart Living.