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Kagan: Q1 Broadcast M&A Dominated by Univision

Broadcast TV and radio station mergers and acquisitions reached a total of $2.64 billion in the first quarter, most of that attributable to the sale of Spanish language broadcaster Univision, according to Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In February, private equity firms SearchLight Capital and ForgeLight agreed to purchase a 64% stake in Univision for an undisclosed sum. Kagan, using its $3.9 billion valuation of the company, estimated a 64% interest to be worth about $2.49 billion.

TV station M&A in the period was about $2.34 billion, according to Kagan. Kagan valued the TV station portion of the Univision deal at about $2.2 billion.

The current deal volume was well below last year, which Kagan estimated at $6.5 billion. 

According to Kagan, Q1 deal volumes weren’t affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, although the company predicted a steep decline in deals in the next few months, adding that the recovery should be equally as robust. Kagan pointed to some deals already in the pipeline -- most notably the offers for broadcast group Tegna, for its 66 stations across the country as an example.

“That could harbinger a first large deal announcement after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kagan said.

Aside from the Univision buyout, Kagan estimated the first quarter's largest TV transaction was a settlement between Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group, in which Nexstar Media Group, the new owner of Tribune Media, will receive Sinclair's Fox affiliate WDKY-TV in the Lexington, Ky., market, along with certain assets of CBS affiliate KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas, together with a $60 million cash payment.

The first quarter's largest TV deal announcement with a disclosed price was the $15 million sale of Mega-TV affiliate KTBU-TV in the Houston, Texas, market, from Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. to Tegna.