US broadcast consolidation volume reaches $8.77BN

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 15 January 2015

On-going consolidation in the US broadcast industry continues apace, with station M&A volume reaching $8.77 billion in 2014, according to SNL Kagan.

That figure excludes construction permits and partial deals, but includes $1.3 billion worth of station swaps. The largest of these swaps was a trade of four TV stations between 21st Century Fox and Cox Enterprises, estimated to be worth $859 million; and, the top radio deal of the year, a 19-station swap between CBS and Beasley Broadcast, worth an estimated $300 million.

The deal market did not repeat 2013's record-breaking $12.4 billion, but still registered the second highest annual number since 2007. The 2014 total exceeds the deal volumes of the years 2009 through 2012 combined.

The decline compared to the previous year is mainly due to a slower pace of TV consolidation, affected by recent FCC regulatory moves. While SNL Kagan registered five large mergers worth between $684.7 million and $2.725 billion in 2013, there were only two such transactions in 2014, the largest being the $2.49 billion merger between Media General and LIN Media.

TV deal volume reached a total of $7.26 billion, which is only 64% of last year's total ($11.39 billion). Overall, 145 full-power TV stations changed hands, bringing the average price per station to $49.1 million, compared to 286 full-power TV station sales for $38.9 million average in 2013.