Cox Plans to Oppose Nexstar-Media General

Cox Communications, in the midst of a retransmission consent battle with Nexstar, is opposing Nexstar’s deal to grow more powerful by acquiring Media General.

Nexstar announced its $4.6 billion deal on Wednesday after Meredith withdrew its competing offer.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and Cox plans to take its objections to the Federal Communications Commission and urges the public to complain as well.

Related: Odds of Charter/TWC Approval Rising

“Nexstar is demanding Cox Communications customers pay triple the current price for retransmission consent or Nexstar will remove their signal from the Cox Communications lineup on January 29,” Cox said in a statement. “Nexstar won't even accept the very same rate that stations they manage agreed to just two weeks ago. As reported in Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, 'Nexstar sees the merger as a way to improve retransmission consent renegotiations.'”

Related: Nexstar, Cox Near Retrans Blackout

Cox noted that the new Nexstar Media Group will have 171 full power broadcast stations, the most of any television group in the nation.

“Nexstar should not be allowed to become a larger company, which would force more cable TV/satellite companies and ultimately customers to pay higher fees for retransmission consent. This merger is bad for business, bad for consumers and is not in the public interest,” Cox said.

John Eggerton contributed to this report.

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.