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Gray Television to purchase Meredith stations for $2.7 billion

(Graphic courtesy Gray Television)

Gray Television says it will acquire more than a dozen local television stations operated by Meredith Corporation in a deal valued at $2.7 billion.

The acquisition will see Gray acquire all outstanding shares of Meredith for around $14.50 in cash, the companies said in a joint press release on Monday.

Both companies say they expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. The agreement includes the sale of KPTV (Channel 12, Fox) in Portland Oregon; KPHO (Channel 5, CBS) in Phoenix; and KVVU (Channel 5, Fox) in Las Vegas along with 14 other broadcast stations.

“The television station portfolios, company cultures and commitments to localism of Gray and Meredith are highly complementary,” Hilton Howell, Gray’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We are very excited to acquire Meredith’s excellent television stations, and we look forward to welcoming its employees into the Gray family.”

To help ease regulatory concern, Gray says it will divest its current Flint, Michigan television station, WJRT (Channel 12, ABC) prior to the closure of the sale. The station is expected to be sold to a third party company who is otherwise unaffiliated with the transaction. After the deal closes, Gray will own CBS affiliate WNEM (Channel 5).

The deal allows Meredith to refocus its efforts on its legacy publishing business. Meredith currently prints a number of recognizable magazines, including People, Country Living, Fitness Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

The sale of the stations was not unexpected: Last month, financial news outlet Bloomberg reported that Meredith had hired a financial advisor to explore a possible divestiture of the stations.

If the agreement goes through, Gray will own stations in more than 110 local television markets across the country. Most of those areas are small- to mid-size markets; despite the sheer number of stations in its portfolio, Gray says it will only reach about 36 percent of the U.S. television audience.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).