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TEGNA sold to private equity firm for $5.4 billion

(Logo: TEGNA/Handout; Graphic: The Desk)

TEGNA, the local television broadcaster that was spun off from the Gannett Corporation several years ago, is being acquired by a well-known hedge fund.

The deal involves $5.4 billion in cash and is backed by Apollo Global Management, a New York-based investment firm, the website Axios reported.

Deborah McDermott, the chief executive of Standard Media, will become CEO of the combined company should the transaction secure regulatory approval.

McDermott currently oversees the operations of four television stations in three states that are owned by Standard Media. When the transaction closes, the number of stations operated by Standard Media will jump to over 60 across more than four dozen television markets in the United States.

As part of the transaction, TEGNA says it will sell several stations in Texas, including WFAA (Channel 8) in Dallas and KHOU (Channel 11 in Houston). Those stations will be among a handful sold to the Cox Media Group, TEGNA executives said. Apollo Global Management, which currently owns a majority stake in Cox Media Group, is helping to bankroll Standard General’s takeover of TEGNA, Axios said.

In California, TEGNA operates KXTV (Channel 10) in Sacramento and KFMB (Channel 8) in San Diego. Those stations are expected to remain with the newly-formed company, which will transition from a publicly-traded enterprise into a privately-held one, Standard General executives said.

It was not immediately clear from the statements issued by TEGNA and Standard General if the transaction will result in job losses or other employee restructuring at any of the acquired broadcast outlets.

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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).