Gannett announces purchase of CBS 19, 5 others for $215M

Published on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 22:16 - Written by Staff Reports

Gannett Co. Inc. announced Wednesday that it will acquire six of London Broadcasting Company’s television stations in Texas, including Tyler-Longview’s KYTX CBS19.

The six stations are being purchased for $215 million in an all-cash transaction.

The acquisition also includes KCEN (NBC) in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KIII (ABC) in Corpus Christi, KBMT (ABC) and its digital sub-channel KJAC (NBC) in Beaumont-Port Arthur, KXVA (FOX) in Abilene-Sweetwater and KIDY (FOX) in San Angelo.

“The purchase of these stations further deepens Gannett’s broadcasting presence in the high-growth state of Texas without any overlap of Gannett’s current local broadcast and publishing portfolio,” a Gannett Co. news release states.

John Gaston, a partner in London Broadcasting Co. and general manager of KYTX CBS19, said he will be staying on with the station. “I’m excited about being part of a company with the journalism commitment Gannett has,” he said.

London Broadcasting Co. acquired CBS19 in 2008. It was the first station in the Tyler-Longview area market to broadcast local news in full HD.

In 2009, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and CBS19 formed an unprecedented news alliance to work together under the motto: “More people in more places covering the news that matters to you.” As a unified news force, KYTX and the Tyler Morning Telegraph have expanded content on multiple platforms for TV viewers, newspaper readers and online users.

“Obviously, we will lose some of that small-company feel,” Gaston said of the acquisition. “We are a close-knit group of Texas stations. Gannett, one of the largest local media companies in the country with a strong presence in Texas, liked our group.”

With headquarters in McLean, Va., Gannett Co. is an international media and marketing solutions company. Gannett owns or services through shared service agreements or other similar agreements 42 television stations. The company operates 82 U.S. daily publications, including USA TODAY, and 443 nondaily local publications in 30 states and Guam. It reaches more than 65 million unique visitors monthly via digital platforms.

“Gannett is deeply committed to quality broadcast journalism in the communities they serve and will continue to help this station grow as it has in the past,” Gaston said. I am looking forward to being part of that future.”

The addition of the stations will expand Gannett’s reach into some of the fastest-growing markets in the nation and furthers its successful transformation into a diversified multi-media company, Gracia Martore, president and chief executive officer of Gannett, said in a statement.

“With more than 70 percent of London Broadcasting’s advertising revenues driven by local advertisers, this acquisition will provide us access to attractive new markets in which we believe our local digital marketing services group, G/O Digital, will thrive,” she said.

The transaction is expected to generate revenues of $50 million in 2014 and will provide Gannett with certain tax efficiencies following the recent sale of assets associated with KMOV in St. Louis. After closing, expected in late summer, Phil Hurley, London Broadcasting Co. senior vice president and chief operating officer, will continue to lead the six stations for Gannett.

“We are pleased that several of our television stations will become part of Gannett and benefit from that organization’s global strength and breadth,” Terry E. London, president of LBC said in a statement. “Likewise, we wish Phil Hurley all the best as he leads the acquired stations under the Gannett banner. Phil is an outstanding leader and he has been a great partner.”

Terry E. London and SunTx Capital Partners formed London Broadcasting Company in 2007, to acquire and operate Texas-based media properties. London Broadcasting Co.’s Broadcast Group is one of the largest television broadcasters in Texas operating 28 channels in seven markets and serving approximately 40 percent of Texas households. Following the sale to Gannett, London will own independent stations KTXD-TV, Dallas, TX, and KCEB-TV, Tyler-Longview.