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Meredith flips the switch on TV

Meredith has agreed to sell 17 local U.S. TV stations to Gray Television  for $2.7 billion in cash, about 10 times the assets’ adjusted EBITDA. It’s a delayed reaction to Meredith’s failure more than five years ago to bulk up its TV assets and leaves the company focused on magazines.

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In 2015, Meredith had designs on broadcaster Media General. But rival Nexstar Media (NXST.O) swooped in and snatched the target, paying $4.1 billion including debt or about 9 times EBITDA. Meredith ultimately bought magazine publisher Time Inc instead, including titles like People. It may not have been the ideal option: Meredith’s shares have slipped by a third over five years, while Nexstar’s have nearly tripled.

At least Monday’s deal pegs the valuation of Meredith’s TV properties at a higher multiple than Media General’s back then and brings in some cash. It’s a small victory for Meredith boss Tom Harty to savor as he makes the best of what’s left. (By Jennifer Saba) Reuters

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