Nearly 300 TV stations were sold in 2013, a 205% jump from 2012, reports BIA/Kelsey. With more than $8 billion in local broadcast acquisitions, the aggregate value of 2013's deals was up 367% over 2012.
Strong political advertising revenues from 2012, retransmission consent revenues and continued historically lower interest rates were all factors in the rabid M&A activity, says BIA/Kelsey.
Major deals in 2013 included Tribune picking up Local TV for $2.73 billion and Gannett grabbing Belo at a $2.2 billion value, along with Sinclair executing several substantial acquisitions. Sinclair dominated the M&A scene in 2012.
Expect 2014 to be a bit quieter, says the research firm. "We expect the transactions to slow down slightly from the incredible amount of activity last year," said Mark Fratrik, VP of BIA/Kelsey.
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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.