Media General, LIN In $1.6 Billion Merger

Fresh off its merger with Young Broadcasting, Media General plans to combine with LIN Media to form what they called the second-largest television broadcasting company.

The combined company will have 74 network-affiliate owned or serviced TV stations in 46 markets, reaching about 23% of U.S. households. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Vincent Sadusky (pictured), LIN president and CEO, will become president and CEO of the new company, which is to be called Media General.

Media General will remain headquartered in Richmond. J. Stewart Bryan III will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

“Combining Media General and LIN Media will create the second largest pure-play TV broadcasting company in the United States, a financially strong organization that will have opportunities for profitable growth greater than either company could achieve on its own,” said Bryan. “Our two companies share a deep commitment to operating top-rated stations, to providing our local markets with excellent journalism and to engaging in meaningful ways with the communities we serve.”

LIN shareholders are to receive an aggregate consideration of $763 million in cash and 49.5 million shares in stock, for a total value of $1.6 billion. The transaction enterprise value, including LIN Media’s net debt balance, is $2.6 billion, according to the companies. Pro forma for the merger, LIN Media shareholders will own approximately 36% of the combined company and Media General shareholders will retain approximately 64% ownership.

The combined group’s 23% clearance would move it into the top 10 station groups, ahead of ABC and Hearst Television. Some stations will “be swapped or otherwise divested in order to address regulatory considerations,” said Media General

“We are pleased to have found an outstanding strategic business partner in Media General, with its strong stations, diverse footprint and commitment to lead the industry. Vince and his team have done an exceptional job growing and evolving LIN Media over the years to be one of the most innovative and successful multimedia companies in the business,” said Douglas W. McCormick, chairman of the board of LIN Media. “This merger will create a stronger, more efficient company that can capitalize on its position of great strength. Importantly, it will provide shareholders of both companies with a compelling opportunity to participate in the long-term upside potential of the combined company.”