There may be another TV deal in
Speaking at a midyear media review sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America Wednesday, outgoing Chief Executive Doug McCorkindale said the company would consider buying the local TV stations that Indianapolis-based
has put on the block.
McCorkindale also says Gannett is looking at possible print and technology acquisitions, and he noted a softness in advertising demand in some key areas.
"We look at everything -- we're looking at Emmis stations," said McCorkindale. "If it makes sense economically we'll look at it."
Emmis owns 16 TV stations in midsize markets such as New Orleans, Omaha, Portland, Ore., and Terre Haute, Ind. A sale of those assets would be consistent with the company's earlier stated plans. Emmis said in early May it would consider spinning off its TV stations.
For Gannett, a purchase of the stations would increase its local TV broadcasting footprint as it seeks to dominate local markets. Combined, the properties could fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
Craig Dubow, the Gannett exec who is in line to replace McCorkindale next month, said: "We expect a strong demographic performance for our key news time periods in the May sweep." He said new business initiatives are delivering good results, while the automotive and retail categories remain challenged in local markets.
Dubow, a career broadcaster, is due to take the reins as president and CEO of Gannett on July 15.
Gary Watson, president of Gannett's newspaper division, said the company is seeing measurable success from its efforts online and with nondaily publications. "Clearly, these categories continue to be critical factors in our revenue growth but they also strengthen our position in the marketplace by expanding the footprint and reach of the newspaper brand," he said.
Thursday, Gannett dropped $1.07 to $73.03.