Gray Television announced Monday it has reached a deal with Schurz Communications to acquire its television and radio stations for approximately $442.5 million including working capital at closing.
Gray will host an investor call at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday to further discuss the agreement.
The addition of the Schurz stations will expand Gray’s reach to 49 TV markets and 28 states, including the top-rated and highest-grossing TV stations in five new markets.
"Today is a momentous day in Gray's 118-year history," said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., Gray's president and CEO. "Through the Schurz transaction, we will significantly expand the quality of our portfolio of leading television stations. We welcome more dedicated reporters, account executives, and technologists to our growing family. Quite simply, Gray's existing stations will make the Schurz stations stronger, while the Schurz stations will make our existing stations better."
Schurz, a privately-owned, Mishawaka, Ind.-based communications company that owns TV and radio stations, newspapers, cable companies and a telephone directory across the country, is not selling any non-broadcast assets or businesses to Gray.
The TV stations include WDBJ, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va. (DMA No. 69); NBC affiliate KYTV and CW affiliate KCZ in Springfield, Mo. (DMA No. 75); and NBC affiliate KTUU in Anchorage, Ala. (DMA No. 148).
Some of the other markets already have Gray stations, meaning one of the stations must be sold to facilitate regulatory approval. Gray will sell KAKE in Wichita, Kan. (DMA No. 65) to make room for KWCH and KSCW, the CBS and CW affiliates, respectively. Gray will be looking for a buyer for Schurz’s WSBT, the CBS affiliate in South Bend, Ind. (DMA No. 96). In addition, Gray expects to consolidate Schurz’s WAGT, the NBC and CW affiliate in Augusta, Ga. (DMA No. 112), with its CBS affiliate WRDW, as well as Schurz’s ABC affiliate KOTA and three satellites stations in Rapid City, S.D. (DMA No. 171) with its Fox affiliate KEVN.
"In a rapidly consolidating industry where size and scale matter more than ever before, we have come to the realization that Gray Television would be the best steward to ensure our stations succeed over the long-term," said Todd Schurz, president and CEO of Schurz. "Gray knows how to operate top stations in small and medium-sized markets, and they have an entrepreneurial and decentralized culture. Moreover, Gray shares our commitment to local communities, staffs, journalistic ideals, and the broadcasting industry. Being part of a larger company with these important credentials will create more opportunities for employees and the communities that we all love."