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Some Nexstar, Media General Investors Back Transaction

Nexstar’s bid for Media General drew support from shareholders of both companies.

During Nexstar’s conference call to discuss the $4.1 billion acquisition offer, some investors said they preferred Nexstar’s bid to Media General’s planned acquisition of Meredith Corp., and wanted Media General to at least engage with Nexstar.

“We think the deal makes a lot of sense. We think it’s a superior proposal and in the best interests of both companies’ shareholders and our hope is the Media General board engages with you guys as soon as possible,” said Greg Spiegel, a senior VP at Neuberger Berman.

Nexstar CEO Perry Sook thanked Spiegel for his comment. “Being one of the largest shareholders of both companies, that’s a much appreciated endorsement and we hope the Media General board agrees with your perspective,” Sook said on the call.

Another analyst, Tejpreet Arora of Roystone Capital Management, which owns 3.7% of Media General and 4.8% of Nexstar, shared a similar sentiment saying the deal “makes a lot of sense and we’re supportive of the company engaging in a dialog."

On the call, Sook said that Nexstar had tried for month to engage Media General in merger and acquisition talks.

Several investors and analysts on the call asked Nexstar execs about what Media General’s reaction to the proposal would be. Media General released a statement saying it had received the unsolicited offer and would study it.

“I’m sure we’ll hear collectively what they think about this in the not-to-distant future,” Sook said. “We can’t speculate on how Media General will react or how this will play out. Suffice it to say we’ve contemplated every one of the potential eventualities and I think we’re prepared to respond depending on their response. Obviously our preference would be to sit down and negotiate a friendly deal with Media General and their board."

In trading this morning, Media General shares were up 25% to $13.97. Nexstar’s stock was up 3.35% to $46.01 a share. Meredith stock was down 7.5% to $42.56.

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.