There’s an entity that describes itself as “a publicly traded diversified holding company which seeks opportunities to acquire and grow businesses that can generate long-term sustainable free cash flow and attractive returns in order to maximize value for all stakeholders” which has been actively acquiring TV properties following the FCC’s spectrum auction.
This company, HC2 Holdings Inc., earlier this week agreed to purchase two Mega TV affiliates in Florida. Now, its subsidiary — HC2 Network Inc. — is acquiring an entire TV network.
For an undisclosed price, HC2 — led by Chairman/CEO Philip Falcone — is acquiring the Azteca América Spanish-language broadcast network from affiliates of Mexico’s TV Azteca.
In addition, HC2 Network signed a definitive acquisition agreement to acquire the broadcast TV assets of Northstar Media LLC. Northstar owns a collection of low-power TV stations that comprise the largest Azteca América affiliate group in the U.S.
HC2 detailed the acquisition by noting that the Azteca transaction extends to the acquisition of professional staff across the U.S. involved in programming, marketing, advertising sales, finance and operations.
The Northstar transaction, which is subject to FCC approval, gives HC2 Network two full-power stations, eight Class A stations and eight LPTV stations. Additionally, HC2 Network would get the channel sharing agreement (CSA) for the full-power license of KEMO-TV in San Francisco.
HC2 already has a controlling equity interest in DTV America Corp., which currently carries Azteca video programming in 10 markets.
HC2 Station Group emerged as an acquisition player in 2017. In October, it acquired 14 LPTVs in a variety of markets from Three Angels Network (3ABN) for $9.6 million.
Then, on Nov. 14, HC2 struck a deal with OTA Broadcasting and acquired KUGB-CD in Houston for $1.5 million; W21CK-D in Charlotte for $500,000; and a group of five Class A stations in the Pittsburgh DMA for $275,000.
On Monday, an FCC filing revealed that HC2 is acquiring WTAM-LD 30 in Tampa and WATV-LD 47 in Orlando from Abrahantes Communications LLC for $850,000.
With the Northstar stations, HC2’s broadcasting network grows to 113 operating stations. In addition, the acquisitions increase HC2’s construction permits to 475, allowing for further buildout of coverage across the United States.
NO PLANNED CHANGES IN PROGRAMMING
The Azteca transaction includes multi-year programming and services agreement that provides HC2 with access to TV Azteca’s current programming and library in Mexico, including top entertainment shows, talk shows, reality programs, network and local news, as well as telenovelas and other scripted series.
“The acquisitions of Azteca America and the Northstar stations will substantially expand and accelerate our investment in broadcasting,” said Falcone. “Throughout 2017, we have strategically acquired broadcast assets across the country. Our vision is to capitalize on the opportunities to bring valuable content to more viewers over-the-air and position the company for the changing media landscape. Our licensing agreement with TV Azteca will enable our larger broadcast network to bring compelling, Spanish-language programming to even more of the large, growing and underserved Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. At the same time, the combination of our network assets will generate opportunities for cost synergies through the rationalization of duplicative operations.”
Azteca América President/CEO Manuel Abud called HC2’s deal “an exciting and transformative milestone in Azteca America’s history.”
He added, “We believe HC2 Network’s long-term investment and resources better position us, on a greater scale, to be an industry leader delivering best-in-class programming, production value and marketing solutions to our audiences and partners alike. Our shared business strategies and industry expertise makes this a perfect alliance to meet the ever-changing demands of the marketplace and further solidify Azteca América as an industry leader in premium Spanish-language content.”
Subject to FCC consent, HC2 will acquire the following stations that are currently held by Northstar:
· KAXW-LD, Mullin, Texas
· KAZD (TV), Dallas, Texas
· KAZH-LP, McAllen, Texas
· KDFQ-LP, Prescott, Arizona
· KDFS-CD, Santa Maria, California
· KEMO-TV, San Francisco, California*
· KHDF-CD, Las Vegas, Nevada
· KLDF-CD, Lompoc, California
· KNWS-LP, Brownsville, Texas
· KPDF-CA, Phoenix, Arizona
· KQDF-LP, Albuquerque, New Mexico
· KSBO-CD, San Luis Obispo, California
· KVDF-CD, San Antonio, Texas
· KYAZ (TV), Houston, Texas
· KYDF-LP, Corpus Christi, Texas
· WQAW-LP, Lake Shore, Maryland
· WTNO-LP, New Orleans, Louisiana
· WUVM-LP, Atlanta, Georgia
· WXAX-CD, Tampa, Florida
*Under Channel Share Agreement
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to HC2 as a hedge fund. We regret the error.