E.W. Scripps (SSP) - Get E.W. Scripps Company (The) Report said Wednesday that it was acquiring eight television stations in seven markets from Nexstar Media Group (NXST) - Get Nexstar Media Group Inc. Report and Tribune Media (TRCO) - Get Tribune Media Co. Class A Report .
Nextar and Tribune are selling off assets as part of a merger deal. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based Scripps said it will pay $505 million for six markets and $75 million for WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York City.
The stations had blended revenue for 2017 to 2018 of $263 million and EBITDA of $56 million.
Scripps said it plans to finance the acquisition with a mix of term loans and unsecured debt that will raise its total debt to $1.85 billion and leave it with a total leverage ratio net of cash of about five times at closing. The stations have a combined 769 employees.
Scripps said the deal expands its local television station footprint to 59 stations in 42 markets with a reach of nearly 30% of U.S. TV households. In addition, Scripps said it granted Nexstar the option to buy back WPIX in New York City. The option is exercisable from March 31, 2020, through the end of 2021.
Scripps recently closed on the acquisition of the ABC television stations in Tallahassee, Florida, and Waco, Texas, owned by Raycom Media and is awaiting consent from the Federal Communications Commission on its acquisition of 15 television stations in 10 markets from Cordillera Communications. The Scripps acquisition of the Nexstar-Tribune stations is expected to close at the same time as the Nexstar-Tribune merger.
Shares of Scripps were up 5% to $23.62 in premarket trading.
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