Tribune Intrigue

Where have we seen this movie before?

As rumors swirl about a possible Sinclair Broadcast Group/Tribune Media merger, there are new reports that 21st Century Fox and Nexstar may be circling for their own piece of the action.

The drama is reminiscent of last year’s attempted merger of Media General and Meredith – which failed and was replaced by a Nexstar takeover of Media General.

In any case, employees of Fox 61 and WCCT in Connecticut must be watching closely. The two stations are owned by Tribune Media.

Boxed Out

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A few weeks ago a number of stories popped up claiming a deal between Gannett and the former Tribune Publishing company (now Tronc) was “imminent.”

Those reports appear to have been pre-mature at the very least. There’s been barely a whisper from either camp ever since.

Meanwhile, the pedestrians of Chicago have noticed that Tronc is apparently getting out of the coin operated news box sales business.

Tronc owns the Hartford Courant.

Speaking of media mergers and acquisitions…

There is growing evidence that Nexstar is prowling its newly acquired television stations of Media General (including WTNH in New Haven) for ways to trim costs.

Nexstar-Media General

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The Justice Department has given tentative approval for Nexstar to proceed with its purchase of Media General, pending the sale of seven stations. FCC approval is expected to follow shortly.

Media General owns WTNH in New Haven. News 8 is not part of the divesture plan. Insiders at News 8 have been concerned for months about job cuts at the station, because trimming the sails on personnel costs is part of Nexstar’s reputation.

Meredith Backing Away?

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Several reports indicate the Meredith Corporation is “backing away” from its efforts to force its previously announced merger with Media General.

The New York Times says Meredith is “abandoning” its efforts which would clear the way for a merger with Nexstar.

The deal, no matter how it turns out, is important to both WFSB and WTNH.

Proceedings

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Some random yet interconnected happenings from the weekend…

Not Done Yet. There was movement last week in the on-going tug of TV between Media General, Nexstar and Meredith Corporation. While it looks as if the momentum has swung toward a Media General/Nexstar deal, Meredith is still in the mix and several more weeks(or months) of merger and acquisition brinksmanship lay ahead.

Not Competitive – Broadcasting and Cable

Merger Standoff – Wall St. Journal

Need we remind you that a Media General/Meredith merger might require the sale of either WFSB or WTNH?

Not Live. The Huffington Post has announced it is effectively ending its eight hour a day live video news feed. The website says it will still provide special live anchored coverage of important events but it is “pivoting” toward a new model that will emphasize video packages meant to be shared easily through social media.

BBC Shrinking? Even the taxpayer supported BBC is facing difficult decisions based on what is becoming an outdated revenue model. The BBC is funded through a license fee on televisions using the service. Since the Internet era is leading to fewer TV’s, revenue from the license fees is decreasing and the worldwide news leader is being forced to make decisions that could lead to reductions in coverage or a new focus on new delivery systems.

Both the HuffPost decision and the BBC problem highlight the struggles news organizations are having blending old forms of news delivery with new expectations from the news audience. Last week we posted on similar challenges for Bristol based ESPN.

NBC Boston. Meanwhile, in Beantown, we’ve been keeping our eye on an on-going battle between NBC and the owner of WHDH. Owner Ed Ansin is vowing to fight a plan by the network to yank HDH’s NBC affiliation and move it to O and O WNEU – a year from now.

*The title of this post inspired by the naval warfare periodical of the same name.

Almost a Done Deal, Maybe

 

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Media General has announced it has completed negotiations with Nexstar and under the agreed terms Nexstar may soon acquire Media General.

Media General owns WTNH in New Haven and last year had entered a merger agreement with Meredith, owner of WFSB, that would have required the sale of one of the two Connecticut television properties.

The Media General/Nexstar deal holds no similar ownership conflicts.

The story is far from over however. Before the Media General/Nexstar deal can go forward, the Media General/Meredith agreement must be terminated. We are told insiders do not expect Meredith to roll over and play dead.

Developing…

Nexstar Close?

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According to the New York Post, Nexstar is close to making a $2 billion deal to acquire Media General, owner of WTNH in New Haven.

The Post has been following the transaction more closely than most papers and appears to have good sources, based on recent events relating to this transaction.

For those of you just joining us…earlier this year Media General and Meredith(owner of WFSB – licensed to Hartford) announced a plan to merge. Then Nexstar stepped in with what it believed to be a better offer for Media General. The Media General/Meredith deal has been on hold ever since while Nexstar has been attempting to convince the Media General board they are offering the better deal for shareholders.

It’s believed that if the Media General/Meredith merger happened either WTNH or WFSB would have to be sold.

Developing…

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