DOJ OK with Scripps-Cordillera Station Buy

The Justice Department has signed off on the sale of 15 TV stations from Evening Post Industries' (EPI) Cordillera Communications to Scripps for $521 million.

That came in an early termination notice Tuesday (Feb. 5) released by the Federal Trade Commission, which divvies up merger reviews.

The notice means that the antitrust review has been ended early with no issues that would cause the deal to be blocked or conditioned. The FCC still has to sign off on the transfer, but the FCC and DOJ coordinate their reviews so approval is likely there as well.

Scripps announced back in October that it was buying the 15 stations in 10 markets. The deal gives Scripps 51 stations in 36 markets reaching 21% of U.S. households.

"The Cordillera stations have strong local brands and are well run and nicely positioned in their markets," said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps, back when the sale was announced. “Through this transaction, Scripps will operate the No. 1-rated TV stations in a third of its markets, enhancing the durability of our portfolio,” Lawlor said. “The acquisition also allows us to go deeper in new markets with the addition of three new duopolies, including two with Big Four combinations.”

The stations Scripps is acquiring are primarily a mix of NBC and NBC affiliates. They are KATC Lafayette, La. (ABC); WLEX (NBC), Lexington, Ky.; KOAA (NBC) Colorado Springs; KSBY (NBC) Santa Barbara; KRIS (NBC) and KAJA (Telemundo), Corpus Christi, Texas; KPAX and KAJJ (CBS) Missoula, Mont.; KTVQ (CBS) Billings, Mont.; KXLF-KBZK (CBS), Butte-Bozeman, Mont.; KRTV (CBS) and KTGF (NBC) Great Falls, Mont.; and KTVH (NBC) and KXLH (CBS), Helena, Mont.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.