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Nexstar to Acquire Citadel's Iowa Stations for $88 Million

Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Mission Broadcasting are teaming up to acquire five stations for a combined $103.25 million. Nexstar is buying Citadel Communications stations in Des Moines (WOI) and Sioux City, Iowa (KCAU), and Rock Island, Ill. (WHBF) for $88 million and will immediately begin operating the three pursuant to a time brokerage agreement.

Mission will acquire two stations in Binghamton, N.Y. from Stainless Broadcasting, L.P. for $15.25 million.

Nexstar and Mission frequently partner in markets where growing Nexstar cannot own another station. The two paired up to acquire the Communications Corp. of America stations for $270 million in April.

"Our and Mission's planned acquisition builds further scale and operating and financial leverage and represents another excellent opportunity to expand our platform in attractive, highly complementary markets," said Perry Sook, Nexstar chairman/president/CEO. "Under Nexstar and Mission's ownership the stations will realize additional retransmission revenues as well as synergistic operating improvements, and on a pro-forma basis the acquisitions will be accretive to results and leverage neutral on a debt-to-cash-flow basis."

Phil Lombardo owns Citadel, which will hold onto its stations in Providence and Lincoln, Nebraska for the foreseeable future. Ray Cole, Citadel COO, said those two stations are "unfinished business."

"We see an opportunity to improve our competitive position in both markets," he said.

Cole called the Nexstar deal "the right move at the right time" for both companies.

"Nexstar brings to bear the resources of a large publicly traded company," he added. "It provides size and scale and additional leverage with syndicators and distributors. I think that serves the employees at these stations well."

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.