Media-focused investment firm Standard General has struck a deal to purchase TV broadcaster Tegna Inc., one of the last remaining large publicly held station groups, for $24 per share in cash, the companies announced Tuesday. That’s approximately $5.4 billion total, rising to $8.6 billion when including the assumption of debt.
An affiliate of Standard General will hold substantially all of the voting power in the acquired Tegna, with Apollo Global Management — which was previously in talks to acquire Tegna before the pandemic — and Cox Media Group to have non-voting and non-attributable securities, per the companies.
The transaction, which marks the end of years-long attempts by multiple potential buyers to acquire Tegna — which owns 64 stations throughout the U.S., as well as the True Crime Network — has been approved by the Tegna board but is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Should the deal take longer than anticipated, Standard General has agreed to pay an additional 5 cents per share per month if the closing occurs between the 9th and 12th month anniversary of signing, increasing to 12.5 cents per month by 14-15 months out.
Once the deal has closed, Deb McDermott, who is currently CEO of Standard Media, will become CEO of the new business, and Soo Kim, founding partner of Standard General, will serve as chairman of a new board on the soon-to-be private company.
Additionally, Tegna stations in Austin (KVUE), Dallas (WFAA and KMPX) and Houston (KHOU and KTBU) are expected to be acquired by Cox Media Group when the deal is sealed, with Premion expected to operate as a standalone business majority owned by Cox and Standard General.
“As long-term investors in the television broadcasting industry, we have a deep admiration for Tegna and the stations it operates and, in particular, for Tegna’s talented employees and their commitment to serving their communities,” Kim said in a statement. “We are excited to partner again with Deb McDermott, who previously spearheaded the broadcast group at Media General, where Standard General was a principal shareholder. We believe Tegna has a strong foundation and exciting prospects for continued growth as a result of the stewardship of the Board and the current management team. We look forward to building on the Company’s strong foundation and leveraging Deb’s deep industry experience to drive further growth.”
McDermott added: “I am honored to lead Tegna’s team to create new opportunities and build on its heritage and successes achieved under Dave’s leadership. Tegna’s stations have earned excellent reputations as leading local content providers, and Tegna’s digital and content assets are a key part of its future in an evolving media landscape. These achievements are a credit to the hard work of Tegna’s dedicated employees, who are the Company’s most valuable asset. I’m very excited about what the future holds for Tegna.”