In the second major TV station deal this week, Raycom Media, the country’s 17th largest broadcast station group, cut a deal Thursday to acquire Liberty Corp. and its 15 stations for $987 million.
On Monday, Emmis Communications’ announced it had agreements with LIN TV, Gray Television and Journal Broadcast to sell nine of its 16 stations for $681 million.
Raycom’s deal, pending FCC approval, includes Liberty’s collection of middle-market stations, such as WAVE Louisville, Ken and WTOL Toledo, Ohio, and small-market outlets, including KTRE Lifkin, Tex and KGBT Harlingen, Tex. “We’re very similar companies culturally, strategically and geographically,” McTear said in an interview with B&C.
The combined company would overlap in four markets: Wilmington, N.C., Columbia, S.C.; Toledo, Ohio and Albany, GA. Raycom will ask the FCC for waivers and permission to operate the stations while the commission considers the proposal and pending a court-ordered rewrite of FCC rules governing who can own how many stations, and where. The Emmis sale had one similar overlap issue.
Uncertainty over new ownership rules has been blamed for the slugishness in the station sales market.
Liberty’s assets also include CableVantage, a cable advertising sales unit that serves eight cable operators. The company’s chairman, Hayne Hipp, said, “As a part of Raycom, our operations will benefit from greater scale and resources, which are necessary to compete effectively in today’s increasingly competitive media market.”
The companies say the transaction should close by the end of the year.