Nexstar Broadcasting makes $1.9BN play for Media General


Michelle Clancy

| 29 September 2015

Nexstar Broadcasting Group has put in an unsolicited offer to buy Media General for $1.9 billion, putting itself in the way of an anticipated merger between Media General and Meredith Corp.

According to reports in USA Today, the proposal values Media General 30% higher than its closing stock price on Friday. The total value of the transaction would be $4.1 billion, including Media General's debt.

The news comes after Media General agreed to merge with Meredith Corp in a deal valued at $3.1 billion, including Meredith's debt. Media General shareholders now have a choice to make, and can opt out if they decide that they prefer the Nexstar deal.

USA Today reported that Nexstar CEO Peter Sook wrote a letter in August addressed to Media General's board chairman J Stewart Bryan and CEO Vincent Sadusky, privately offering to buy the company. "The combined company's significantly expanded audience reach and portfolio diversification would be highly attractive to programmers and advertisers alike. We strongly believe a combination of Media General and Nexstar is far more compelling strategically and financially than your planned acquisition of Meredith," he wrote.

Media General said in a statement that the company would carefully consider the new offer, but noted that the board is leaning towards the Meredith merger over a Nexstar acquisition.

Media General is one of the largest connected-screen media companies in the US, operating 71 television stations in 48 markets along with what it call the industry's leading digital media business with premium content and distribution on multiple screens.

The portfolio of broadcast, digital and mobile products including LIN Digital, LIN Mobile, Federated Media, HYFN, Dedicated Media and BiteSizeTV reaches just under a quarter of US TV households and more than half of the US Internet audience.