He didn’t rule out some radio buys, but Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith is focused primarily on potential TV station buys – repeating the interest in M&A that he’d mentioned earlier this year. And no, he didn’t mention any interest in expanding the company’s print portfolio.
Discussing M&A in his Q&A period with analysts, Smith noted that there hasn’t yet been a major TV transaction to set a post-recession valuation benchmark – “we’re all waiting for a television number to emerge,” he said.
“We’ve consistently said that we’re interested in finding value-creating broadcast acquisitions. We do plan to stay disciplined in our process as we look at these opportunities and evaluate them. We do want to grow the markets as a business and we have, we’ve talked to our board about target markets, so we’ve communicated that to our board,” Smith told the analysts. We have a preference for television at this point, although we may well fill in some radio markets, because, as you know, we don’t have a full cluster in Tucson or Knoxville or Tulsa. So, we’re excited about the opportunities, but we’re going to stay disciplined in our process,” he added.
RBR-TVBR observation: The four McGraw-Hill stations now up for sale in the West and Midwest would obviously fit quite nicely into the Journal portfolio. But, is Journal in the market for a deal that could run to around $400 million?