Scripps expands local TV presence to 14% of US market

Michelle Clancy | 12-02-2014

The EW Scripps Company has agreed to acquire two US television stations owned by Granite Broadcasting Corp Detroit MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD and Buffalo, NY, ABC affiliate WKBW for US$110 million in cash.

The total market reach for Scripps stations will be nearly 14% of US households once the transaction is complete, including 11 ABC affiliates that will reach nearly 12%, the largest reach among station groups. That will give it significant leverage in retransmission fee negotiations with pay-TV operators going forward.

The acquisition of WMYD also creates a duopoly with the largest Scripps station, Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ. The acquisition of WKBW in Buffalo adds the ABC station in market No 52.

"These stations in Detroit and Buffalo will contribute strong cash flow to our core business, expand our reach in one of our best markets and expand our TV footprint in partnership with ABC," said Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO. "Owning these stations also allows us to expand our news-gathering reach and our digital business and add more audiences for our original programmes, Let's Ask America, The List and RightThisMinute."

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter.

Scripps and Granite also have also signed a Time Brokerage Agreement, whereby Scripps will provide four to six hours of daily programming to WMYD until the deal closes.

"These two stations are a terrific fit for our TV portfolio," said Brian Lawlor, senior vice president of television at Scripps. "We love doing business in Detroit. WXYZ is one of our most important TV stations, and our ability to marry it with the MyNetworkTV station allows us to extend our commitment to that market and continue the conversation and the passion driving the renaissance of this great American city."

After the deal closes, Scripps will own 21 stations: ABC affiliates in Buffalo, Detroit, Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Cleveland, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Bakersfield; NBC affiliates in West Palm Beach, Kansas City and Tulsa; an independent station in Lawrence (a duopoly with Kansas City), and a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Detroit; and five Azteca America affiliates.