Gannett Closes on Belo Deal

Gannett closed on its acquisition of Belo Corp. Dec. 23. The total value of the deal was $2.2 billion, including $13.75 per share in cash and the assumption of $715 million of outstanding debt.

"We are thrilled to combine these two storied media companies, both of which are known for award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership,” said Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett. “The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in Gannett's ongoing transformation into a higher-margin and more highly diversified company in the rapidly evolving media business."

The acquisition, first announced in June, “nearly doubles Gannett's broadcast portfolio and creates the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, including stations to be serviced by Gannett under shared services and similar arrangements,” said Gannett.

Gannett now reaches approximately one-third of all television households in America, it added, and has become the No. 1 CBS affiliate group and No. 4 ABC affiliate group, while expanding its position as the largest NBC affiliate group.

Also on Dec. 23, Gannett and Sander Media sold KMOV St. Louis and KTVK-KASW Phoenix, which had been part of Belo, to Meredith for $407.5 million.

Belo common stock has ceased trading and will no longer be listed on the NYSE.

J.P. Morgan Securities provided financial advice and Nixon Peabody LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, and Paul Hastings LLP served as legal advisors to Gannett on the transaction. RBC Capital Markets provided financial advice and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Wiley Rein LLP served as legal advisors to Belo.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.