LIN scores New Vision Group


Vince SaduskyLIN TV broadcast group figures to expand its household reach significantly with its deal to acquire stations and other assets from New Vision Television.

LIN will get 13 stations, with 10 Big Four network affiliates included, serving eight DMAs. And it will also continue to provide services for five additional stations that had been receiving those services from New Vision, bringing three more major net affiliates into the fold.

The price for the deal: $342.4M, $12M of which is in the form of debt assumption.

The markets implicated in the deal include Portland, OR (DMA 22); Birmingham, AL (DMA 39); Wichita, KS (DMA 67); Honolulu, HI (DMA 71); Savannah, GA (DMA 92); Youngstown, OH (DMA 110); Topeka, KS (DMA 136); and Mason City, IA (DMA 153).

The deal, once it is complete, will increase LIN’s footprint from 7.3% of US TV households to 10.6%, with 50 network affiliates in 23 markets.

LIN President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent L. Sadusky said: “We have been evaluating the M&A landscape for quite some time and selectively pursued New Vision Television as it adds geographical diversity, particularly in the South and Western U.S. New Vision Television has a reputation for operating high-quality, well-run media properties. This is a terrific opportunity to strengthen our mid-size market station portfolio in an accretive manner and will provide new markets to expand our digital businesses. The deal is structured and financed in a way that preserves our financial flexibility and allows us to capitalize on significant synergies, as well as leverage our technical capabilities, corporate infrastructure and interactive growth platforms to benefit both our viewers and advertisers.”

New Vision’s Jason Elkin added, “This is a bittersweet development. I have never worked with a more dedicated and committed group of local broadcasters than the management and staff of New Vision, led by my COO John Heinen, CFO Eric Simontis and EVP Steve Spendlove. The decision to sell to LIN Media was not an easy one, but we negotiated a fair price and so decided that now is the right time for me and others at New Vision to begin to look at new opportunities.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This deal is all about territorial expansion rather than local consolidation. LIN markets include Albuquerque, Austin, Buffalo, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids-Battle Creek, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Lafayette IN, Mobile-Pensacola, New Haven-Hartford, Norfolk-Portsmouth, Providence, Springfield MA and Terre Haute. Not a duplicate in the bunch.