14 Jul Allen Media Group Pays $70M To Acquire Gray Television’s WJRT, An ABC Affiliate In Michigan
By Dade Hayes
The deal for Byron Allen’s company follows a $380 million pact announced in April for a batch of other stations in a separate arrangement with Gray related to the purchase of Quincy Media. Allen said he intends for his company to soon become the largest station owner in the U.S., taking that crown from Nexstar Media Group.
After the close of the transaction, Allen Media will have 24 local TV stations in 20 markets, as well as 12 networks, including the Weather Channel and streaming service Local Now.
Gray’s divestiture of WJRT should ease the regulatory review of the company’s pending acquisition of Meredith Corp.’s local TV business. The expected close of the WJRT deal later this year would eliminate the only market overlap between the station portfolios of Gray and Meredith.
“Having to divest WJRT-TV, which we have proudly owned for the past seven years, in order to facilitate our purchase of Meredith’s television stations is bittersweet,” Gray CEO Hilton Howell said. “The wonderful WJRT-TV staff has done an exemplary job serving the Flint-Saginaw community, and we are disappointed to lose them. Nevertheless, we are excited that Byron Allen and his team will follow us as the next dedicated stewards of this fine television station.”
Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Allen Media Group. “Over the past year-and-a-half, we’ve invested close to $1 billion to acquire best-in-class, top-tier, broadcast network affiliates and we plan to invest approximately $10 billion to acquire more ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox television stations over the next two years with the goal of being the largest broadcast television group in America. All of our media assets will work in concert to amplify our free-streaming service, Local Now.”
WJRT-TV GM Pete Veto will stay with Gray after the close of the sale in a new position to be announced.