TEGNA, the owner of WBNS 10 television and radio stations, sold to a New York company
The owner of WBNS (Channel 10) has been sold to a New York investment firm.
TEGNA, which owns WBNS and 63 other television stations, including WTOL in Toledo and WKYC in Cleveland, announced on Tuesday that it was being acquired by Standard General for $5.4 billion.
In addition to television stations, TEGNA owns WBNS FM and WBNS AM radio stations in Columbus. The deal comes less than three years after the Wolfe family sold the stations, and one in Indianapolis, to TEGNA for $535 million.
The Wolfe family founded WBNS-TV, a CBS affiliate, in 1949.
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Standard General will pay $24 per share for TEGNA, well above its Friday closing price of $20.95. Factoring in the debt assumption, the companies valued the total transaction at $8.6 billion. TEGNA will no longer be listed on the stock exchange after the agreement.
“We are delighted to have entered into this agreement with Standard General, which follows a thorough review of the acquisition proposals received by the company,” TEGNA Chairman Howard Elias said in a press release announcing the OK.
“After evaluating this opportunity against TEGNA’s standalone prospects and other strategic alternatives, our Board of Directors has concluded that this transaction maximizes value for TEGNA’s shareholders.”
Soo Kim, founding partner of Standard General, also welcomed the deal.
“As long-term investors in the broadcast industry, we have deep admiration for TEGNA and the stations it operates and, in particular, for TEGNA’s talented employees and their commitment to serving their communities.” , Kim said in a press release.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. Deb McDermott, CEO of Standard General, will become CEO of the acquired company and Kim will serve as chairman of the board. According to Standard General, the deal will make TEGNA the largest minority women-run broadcasting company in the country.
The deal also includes TEGNA services such as True Crime Network, Premion and Quest.
Following the closing of the agreement, TEGNA stations in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas will be acquired by Cox Media Group, according to the press release.
Standard General and WBNS didn’t provide any details on what the change in ownership would mean for the stations, but Kim said in the press release that “we look forward to building on the strong foundation of the business and building on leveraged Deb’s deep industry experience to drive growth.”
Based in Tysons, Va., TEGNA was formed in June 2015, when Gannett Co. split into two publicly traded companies, one focusing on broadcast and the other on newspapers. (The Dispatch has been part of the Gannett chain since 2019.)