Citadel to take majority stake in ION

NBC Universal inks deal with investment firm

NBC Universal has struck a deal with Chicago-based Citadel Investment Group that calls for Citadel to take over NBC U’s controlling interest ION, the network and station group formerly known Pax TV, and take the company private.

The deal calls for Citadel to buy out ION’s outstanding stock at $1.46 per share, or about $73 million, and invest $100 million in the company founded by Lowell “Bud” Paxson. But it also gives NBC U a chit to buy back its stake in five year’s time.

NBC U bought out founder Paxson in November 2005 and installed former NBC exec Brandon Burgess as CEO. The peacock has been prevented from taking full control of the company because it would run afoul of Federal Communications Commission limits on TV station ownership. NBC U already owns 25 TV stations through its NBC and Telemundo O&Os.

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