Skip to main content

Justice Department: Nexstar Must Sell Seven Stations

Nexstar has agreed to sell seven TV stations in order to buy Media General.

The Justice Department's antitrust division said that without the divestitures, the $4.6 billion purchase would lead to higher spot advertising prices and retransmission consent fees.

The DOJ filed suit against the transaction and simultaneously filed the settlement, which is how such settlement deals work.

Nexstar will have to sell WBAY Green Bay to Gray Television; WSLS Roanoke-Lynchburg to Graham Holdings; KADN and KLAF-LD Lafayette to Bayou City Broadcasting; WTHI Terre Haute to USA Television MidAmerica Holdings; WFFT Fort Wayne to USA Television; and KWQC Quad Cities to Gray.

Related: Nexstar/Media General Purchase No Threat to Public Interest

The DOJ concluded that in those DMAs, without the spin-offs, Nexstar "would control between 41 and 100 percent of the broadcast television station gross advertising revenues in these six DMAs and at least two broadcast television stations affiliated with the four major national television networks."

The FCC and Justice usually coordinate their reviews of deals, so the FCC approval should follow shortly.

Nexstar has 90 days to comply with the divestitures—or five days after the court renders its judgment. The court has to approve the settlement, but that is generally a formality.

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.