Broadcast Merger Activity Dropped to $9B in 2014

Broadcast station merger and acquisition activity slowed to $8.77 billion in 2014 from a record $12.4 billion in 2013, according to figures from SNL Kagan.

The 2014 deal total includes $1.3 billion in station swaps. The biggest swaps involved 21st Century Fox’s four station trade with Cox Enterprises, worth an estimated $859 million, and a 19 station radio swap between CBS and Beasley Broadcast Group worth about $300 million.

Kagan said the decline in deals reflected a slowdown of industry consolidation resulting from moves from the FCC.

TV deal volume was $7.26 billion, down from $11.39 billion in 2013. Kagan said 145 full-power TV stations changed hands, compared to 286 in 2013.

The average price of a full-power station was $49.1 million, up from $38.9 million in 2013. The cash-flow multiple for TV stations in those deals remained relatively stable at 8.1 times, compared to 8.2 times a year ago.

Radio deals rose 48% to $1.51 billion, Kagan said, with 258 AM stations and 501 FM stations sold in 2014. In 2013, 219 AM stations and 418 FM stations changed hands.

(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.