Nexstar Broadcasting and Mission Broadcasting are partnering
to acquire 12 TV stations from Newport Television for $285.5 million. Nexstar
will acquire 10 stations and digital services outfit Inergize Digital and
Mission will acquire two stations in Little Rock.
In separate deals, Newport parent Providence Equity Partners
is selling six stations to Sinclair and four to Cox.
"The planned acquisition of the Newport stations
substantially broadens Nexstar's local television broadcasting platform with
stations that are geographically complementary to and diversify Nexstar's
operating base," said Nexstar in a statement, "while also presenting
significant financial and operating synergies with the company's existing
The stations headed to Nexstar are KTVX-KUCW Salt Lake City,
WPTY-WLMT Memphis, WSYR Syracuse, WBGH-WIVT Binghamton, WETM Elmira, WJKT
Jackson (Tenn.) and WWTI in Watertown (N.Y.).
Mission gets KLRT-KASN Little Rock.
"The Newport transaction is a transformational event
for Nexstar from a strategic and operational standpoint and will bring very
significant free cash flow accretion to the company immediately upon
closing," said Perry Sook, Nexstar chairman, president and CEO. "The
acquisition significantly expands our revenue and operating base with stations
where we can quickly apply our operating and management disciplines to
meaningfully improve their performance which we believe will drive strong cash
The transaction would increase Nexstar's portfolio of
stations that it owns, operates, programs or provides services for to 67
stations in 40 markets, reaching 11.4% of all U.S. television households.
Nexstar announced a year ago that it was exploring a
possible sale of its stations. Sook said Nexstar will continue to look to sell
some assets. "In the current environment we see further opportunities to
optimize our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and divestitures,"
he said. "In this regard, and reflecting another outcome of the strategic
review process, we are in discussions to divest certain stations in smaller,
non-core markets to allow us to best maximize the value of our intellectual
capital and operating management."
Sook said the purchase price for the Newport stations is
approximately 5.5 times the stations' average 2011/2012 pro-forma projected
cash flow and approximately 5 times their 2012 pro-forma projected cash flow.