Scripps closes on Granite deal

By on Jun, 17 2014 with Comments 0

E.W. Scripps CompanyE.W. Scripps has completed the acquisition of two TV stations, in Detroit and Buffalo, it announced. The sale of Granite Broadcasting’s WKBW Channel 7 (ABC) and WMYD-TV 20 (myTV) Detroit to E.W. Scripps Co. was approved 5/2 by the FCC. Lawlor added that a closing date is expected to be announced this week. The deal was originally announced in February.

Granite Broadcasting, which is controlled by a hedge fund, sold the stations for $110 million in cash.

The acquisition of WMYD creates a duopoly with the largest Scripps station, Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ. The WKBW buy in Buffalo adds the ABC station in market #52. With this deal, Scripps will own 11 ABC affiliates that will reach nearly 12% of U.S. households, the largest reach among station groups.

“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 programs Let’s Ask America, The List and RightThisMinute.”

The transaction was structured as a purchase of assets, and it was funded with cash on hand. No debt financing will be required. It is expected to be accretive to earnings in the first full year Scripps operates the acquired stations. The two stations together have about 100 employees.

Scripps and Granite also have 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 Lawlor. “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. We are equally enthusiastic about entering Buffalo for the first time in the company’s history.  We have had decades of success running ABC stations along the eastern Great Lakes. We look forward to including Buffalo in our content and customer strategies that now run through Cleveland and Detroit.”

Scripps now onns 21 stations: ABC affiliates in Buffalo, Detroit, Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Fla., Cleveland, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Bakersfield, Calif.; NBC affiliates in West Palm Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla.; an independent station in Lawrence, Kan. (a duopoly with Kansas City), and a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Detroit; and five Azteca America affiliates.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

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