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Meredith to Sell TV Stations to Gray for $2.7 Billion

Meredith is selling its TV stations to Gray Television and will focus on its national media group, including the magazines People and Better Homes & Gardens.
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Meredith  (MDP) - Get Meredith Corporation Report shares rose Monday after the publisher said it would sell its broadcast TV stations to Gray Television  (GTN) - Get Gray Television, Inc. Report for $2.7 billion cash. 

The Des Moines, Iowa, company said it would now focus on its national media group, which includes magazines such as People and Better Homes & Gardens. 

In addition, Meredith's premium digital network reaches more than 150 million consumers each month.

In the transaction, the national media group will be spun out to shareholders as a stand-alone publicly traded company retaining the Meredith name, the company said.

For each of their shares, Meredith holders will receive $14.50 cash and 1-for-1 share equity in post-closing Meredith, the company said.

Meredith’s 17 local stations account for 27% of the company’s revenue. They include Fox and CBS affiliates in cities such as Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.

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Meredith recently traded at $32.71, up 5.2%. The have traded on Monday up as much as 15% at $35.65. They'd set a 52-week high $37.50 on March 12. And the stock has more than doubled (up 178%) over the past six months. 

Gray traded at $20.48, up 0.8%. It has jumped 56% in the past six months amid strong consumer demand for video content during the pandemic.

In other TV news, last week, Roku ROKU withdrew Alphabet’s GOOGL YouTube TV from its channel store after the two companies were unable to reach a distribution accord.

It’s unusual for streaming platforms to remove major channels from their portfolios, though it’s a regular occurrence in spats between pay-TV providers and linear TV networks.

Also last week, Discovery reported first-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates.

The company registered net income of 21 cents a share, compared with the FactSet analyst-consensus estimate of 33 cents.