Media General Closes Four-Station Sale

Media General closed on its $600 million acquisition of four NBC-owned stations Monday.

The newest Media General affiliates are: WNCN Raleigh, N.C.; WCMH Columbus, Ohio; WVTM Birmingham, Ala.; and WJAR Providence, R.I. The company says all four stations are ranked among the top three in their markets.

“This acquisition is compelling from both an operational and financial perspective,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO of Media General in a statement. “Investors can be highly confident of our ability to execute as planned. We’ve successfully integrated numerous acquisitions. We have achieved or exceeded our projected operating synergies, and we repaid debt as quickly as, or faster than, projected."

In order to buy WVTM, Media General was granted a six-month FCC waiver of its duopoly rules. Media General agreed to sell a CBS affiliate in Wichita, Kan., including that station’s three satellites, and its CBS stations in Birmingham, Ala., Mason City, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tenn.  The company says it is in the process of dealing those stations. The FCC does not allow duopolies among two of the top four stations.

NBC sold the stations as part of a strategy to focus on its big-market O&Os and growing its portfolio of Telemundo stations.

With the NBC deal, Media General now owns nine NBC outlets, making it the network's third-largest affiliate owner.