Nexstar Broadcasting Group has agreed to sell a trio of Fox affiliates to Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG) for $58.5 million. MBG is a new minority broadcaster with which Nexstar will be closely aligned. Changing hands will be KMSS Shreveport, KPEJ Odessa-Midland and KLJB Quad Cities (Iowa). MBG intends to fund the acquisitions through borrowings which Nexstar will guarantee, and Nexstar will provide sales and other non-programming services to MBG.
Pluria Marshall Jr. heads up MBG. He’s the president and CEO of Equal Access Media, which owns several newspapers serving African-American and minority communities, including The Texas Freeman, The Houston Informer, and The Los Angeles Wave Newspaper Group. Marshall says he’s repeatedly attempted to own stations, but could not get financing. He’s also been VP and general manager of WLBM in Meridian, Mississippi.
"We believe the proposed transaction presents an ideal framework for introducing and incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting, and for bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to MBG's markets at the earliest possible opportunity,” said Perry A. Sook, chairman/president/CEO of Nexstar.
The transaction is subject to FCC approval, the consummation of Nexstar's agreements to acquire Communications Corporation of America (CCA) and White Knight Broadcasting as well as Grant, and is expected to be completed in 2014. MBG intends to assume the obligations of Mission Broadcasting as the acquirer of the stations under various asset purchase agreements currently in effect between Nexstar and Mission.
Sook said the pending deal will help gain regulatory approval for the CCA and Grant transactions. Nexstar agreed to acquire CCA in April 2013 and Grant in November.
"We are delighted to have the support of Nexstar to promote diversity of media ownership assets among minority operators," said Marshall. "Over the last 30 years, I've devoted significant time and effort in seeking to purchase television and radio stations. The single key factor in each unsuccessful opportunity has been the inability to access the funding necessary for the purchase.”
MBG plans to roll out an aggregate 24.5 hours of weekly additional local news and sports programming on the stations, with more to be developed.
MBG will be entitled to 70% of the revenue from advertising sold by Nexstar on the stations.
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.
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