Scripps to Acquire 15 Stations from Cordillera

The E.W. Scripps company said it is acquiring 15 television stations in 10 markets from Cordillera Communications for $521 million.

The deal would give Scripps a total of 51 stations in 36 markets that would reach 21% of U.S. households.

The acquisition follows a reorganization of Scripps to focus on TV. It recently sold off its remaining radio assets.

“In addition to the immediate benefits to our portfolio’s operating performance, this deal leaves Scripps with the capability to continue to pursue incremental and transformative deals for television stations,” said Adam Symson, Scripps president and CEO. “We will continue to pursue all appropriate avenues to enhance the scale and operating performance of our local media portfolio.”

The stations Scripps is acquiring are:

  • WLEX, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Ky. 

  • KOAA, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

  • KATC, the ABC affiliate in Lafayette, La. 

  • KSBY, the NBC affiliate in Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, Calif.

  • KRIS, the NBC affiliate, and KAJA, a Telemundo affiliate, in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

  • KPAX and KAJJ, a CBS affiliate in Missoula, Mont.
  • KTVQ, a CBS affiliate in Billings, Mont.

  • KXLF/KBZK, the CBS affiliate in Butte-Bozeman, Mont.

  • KRTV, the CBS affiliate, and KTGF, the NBC affiliate, in Great Falls, Mont..

  • KTVH, the NBC affiliate, and KXLH, the CBS affiliate, in Helena, Mont.

The Cordillera stations have about 700 employees.

Scripps said the acquisition would be immediately accretive to the margins of its local media segment and the company as a whole. It said, based on revenue of $158 million and EBITDA of $63 million, it was paying a multiple of 7.2 times for the stations, net of tax benefits.

The deal will give Scripps No. 1 stations in 11 markets. It will give Scripps a more diversified collection of network affiliates with 18 ABC stations, 11 NBC stations, seven CBS stations and two Fox stations.

“Through this transaction, Scripps will operate the No. 1-rated TV stations in a third of its markets, enhancing the durability of our portfolio,” said Brian Lawlor, president of local media for Scripps. “The acquisition also allows us to go deeper in new markets with the addition of three new duopolies, including two with Big Four combinations.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.