The FCC is approving the transfer of licenses from Media General to Nexstar in a stock and cash deal they valued at about $4.6 billion. The agency is also approving the license transfers for all of the divestiture stations. According to the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration database, Media General has 22 constructed sites listed in the database. The DOJ previously approved the merger, so Wednesday’s action clears the way for the deal, first announced in September, 2015, to close.
The companies had asked the FCC to waive the prohibited Communication Rule so they didn’t have to wait until after the broadcast spectrum incentive auction ends to close the transaction. The FCC waived the restriction and also said in its decision that “Nexstar, following consummation, will be in compliance with the Local Television Ownership Rule in seven markets where the transaction would otherwise have resulted in violations, as well as be in compliance with the national ownership reach cap.”
The companies sought permission to transfer control of 28 license subsidiaries from Media General to Nexstar. Media General holds through its subsidiaries 67 full-power television stations, 119 Class A and low-power TV stations, and various land mobile and earth station licenses.
The FCC said in the order its decisions were unique to this transaction; Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker stated “We still do not anticipate any large M&A to resume until after the auction concludes.” The important thing is that the waiver has been granted and there are no surprises, according to the analyst.
The FCC denied protests from Cox, Dish, the American Cable Association and Communications Workers of America which opposed the deal and/or sought conditions be placed on the transaction.
January 12, 2017