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Media General buying KSNW’s parent company, LIN Media

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 21, 2014, at 9:25 a.m.

KSNW, Channel 3 has another new owner, its sixth since 2000.

Richmond, Va.-based Media General is buying the station’s owner, LIN Media, which is based in Austin, Texas, to form a larger television-only media company in a transaction valued at $1.6 billion.

For now, KSNW president and general manager Erik Schrader wrote in an e-mail, KSNW is operating as it has been.

The combined company will take the Media General name and have 74 stations in 46 markets.

The deal won’t close until early 2015.

Vincent Sadusky, LIN Media’s president and CEO, will become president and CEO of Media General.

Media General board chairman J. Stewart Bryan III will continue to serve as chairman of the board. The new company will remain headquartered in Richmond, Va.

LIN Television, then based in Providence, R.I., bought KSNW and 16 other television stations from New Vision Television in 2012.

New Vision bought the station in 2007 from Montecito Broadcast Group, which bought it in 2006 from Emmis Communications, which bought it in 2000 from Lee Communications.

Dwindling advertising revenue and audience numbers have pushed broadcasters to acquire TV stations that have multiple revenue streams, including retransmission fees from cable operators that pay to carry channels.

Media General chairman Stewart Bryan said the deal would create the second-largest pure-play U.S. TV broadcaster. Tribune Co. became the largest after it bought Local TV Holdings for $2.73 billion last June.

Other large recent TV deals include Gannett Co. buying Belo Corp. for $1.5 billion and Sinclair Broadcast Group buying eight TV stations from the Allbritton family for $985 million.

LIN shareholders will get $27.82 per share in stock and cash, based on Media General’s trailing 20-day average price. At that price, the offer represents a premium of 29.5 percent to Lin’s Thursday closing.

Shares of Media General, in which Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. held a stake of about 5 percent as of December, jumped 12.5 percent to $19.51 in early trading.

Media General exited the newspaper business in 2012, selling most of its newspapers to Berkshire Hathaway for $142 million.

LIN Media, which owns or operates 43 TV stations and seven digital channels in 23 markets across the country, was founded in 1961. Its initials stand for Louisville, Indianapolis and Nashville, the cities where it originally owned radio stations.

The company’s profit has missed analysts’ average forecast for the last three quarters.

Bryan will remain chairman of the combined company, while LIN Media chief executive Vincent Sadusky will be the CEO.

Contributing: Reuters

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