Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Media General to Buy Iowa Television Giant

$2.41 billion will create country's third biggest television firm.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Richmond-based Media General, which once owned the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is buying Meredith Corp. in a $2.4 billion deal that will create the nation’s third largest owner of television stations.

The new company, called Meredith Media General, will have 88 stations in 54 markets. It also will publish magazines Better Homes and Gardens, Allrecipes, Parents and Shape, according to the Associated Press.

The deal is the latest iteration for once venerable Media General, which has been controlled for years by Richmond’s Bryan family. Locally, the company owns WRIC-TV 8.

In 2012, Berkshire Hathaway bought 63 Media General newspapers, including the Times-Dispatch, for $142 million, and agreed to help it with $400 million in financing.

The slimmed-down Media General has continued to operate with Richmond as its headquarters as mostly a television company. It isn’t clear what Richmond’s status will be with the new firm. Corporate and executive offices will be shared in Richmond and in Des Moines, Iowa, where Meredith is located.

The new company will have J. Stewart Bryan, chairman of Media General, as its new chairman. Media General will select eight members of its board with Meredith picking eight. Meredith chief executive Steve Lacy will serve as president and chief executive of the new firm. Sixty-five percent of the firm will be owned by Media General stockholders with Meredith shareholders owning 35 percent.

If the deal closes in June, the new entity expects $80 million in total savings over two years.

Last year, Media General merged with LIN Media of Austin, Texas, which doubled the number of its television stations to 71.

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