March 20, 2019

Nexstar to divest Hartford’s Fox 61

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
A Fox 61 broadcast.

Nexstar Media Group Inc. has agreed to sell 11 of its local television stations, including Hartford-based WTIC-TV (Fox 61), to Virginia broadcaster TEGNA Inc. for $740 million.

The companies announced the all-cash transaction Wednesday as Nexstar was being forced to make certain divestitures to comply with regulatory ownership limits amid its recent $4 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co., which included the purchase of WTNH-TV in New Haven.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forbids a single owner from operating multiple television stations in the same market, so Texas-based Nexstar decided to divest its Hartford outfit.

TEGNA's proposed acquisition of the stations in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois and in other southern states is contingent on the closing of the Nexstar-Tribune combination, which is expected to be completed by year-end.

"These stations are an excellent strategic and financial fit and bring additional geographic diversity to our portfolio of leading stations," said TEGNA CEO Dave Lougee. "They add four additional key markets to our strong political footprint as the 2020 presidential election gets underway."

Created in 2015 when Gannett Co Inc. split into two publicly traded companies, TEGNA currently owns 49 TV stations and two radio stations in 41 markets.

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