Media General Agrees to be Sold to Texas Television Giant 

Deal comes days after death of its company leader, J. Stewart Bryan III.

click to enlarge J. Stewart Bryan III

Scott Elmquist

J. Stewart Bryan III

Update: 12:34 p.m. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that the headquarters of the new company will be in Irving, Texas and 80 Media General people in Richmond could be affected.

Longtime local news-gathering powerhouse Media General Inc. has agreed to be bought by Irving,Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. for $4.6 billion, ending a bidding war for the Richmond-based broadcasting firm.

Media General announced its decision this morning, just hours before a memorial service was due to be held at The Commonwealth Club for J. Stewart Bryan, the chairman of Media General who died Saturday at age of 77 of medical complications from a fall.

The pending deal puts in question whether the new firm will have much of a presence in Richmond, where Media General dates back decades and formerly owned the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The newspaper is reporting that the combined firm will be headquartered in Texas and that the fate of the Media General headquarters building is not known. About 80 Media General corporate employees work locally and some may be offered jobs with the new firm.

According to a press release from Media General, Nexstar will acquire all outstanding shares of Media General for $10.55 per share in cash and 0.1249 of a share of Nexstar common stock for each Media General share.

As part of this morning’s deal, Meredith Corporation of Iowa will drop its bid for Media General. Nexstar came in with a richer offer after Meredith made its pitch last year. It wasn’t apparent whether Bryan’s death affected the timing and outcome of Nexstar’s takeover victory.

The new company will have 171 television stations in 100 markets along with digital platforms.

The news is a major, and perhaps last, step in Media General’s long history. In 2012, it sold all but one of its financially struggling newspapers, including the Times-Dispatch, to Berkshire Hathaway, a firm owned by billionaire Warren Buffett.

The company was increasing its purchases of television stations across the country, boosting its stock price from the low single digits to more than $16 a share.

The Bryan family has played a strong role in shaping the city’s and state’s politics and economics. While supporting such Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writers as Virginius Dabney, the family also backed Massive Resistance, a plan to shun court-ordered racial integration in the 1950s.


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