How critical is a new retransmission consent agreement for one of the nation’s largest TV broadcasting companies, an entity that still awaits FCC approval of its proposed merger with Tribune Media?
For Nexstar Media Group, the lack of a retrans deal with AT&T for its three TV services is wreaking havoc for a stock that had zoomed to a record high just four months ago.
With Monday’s Closing Bell on Wall Street, Nexstar shares were down to $93.05, an 84-cent decline from Friday.
The dip brings NXST closer to a recent low of $91.24, seen August 15, and all but negates the company’s share growth seen over the last six months.
In fact, it was February 25 when Nexstar shares were last at this price. Only, NXST was in an upward trajectory, beginning at $73.62 in late December 2018 and soaring to $117.96 on April 16.
With a 1-year target price set by analysts of $132.22, high hopes remain for Nexstar.
But, it is clear investors are growing wearing of a protracted impasse over retransmission consent between it and AT&T, preventing all Nexstar-owned stations from reaching consumers of DirecTV, AT&T TV NOW and U-Verse.
As the clock struck 12:00am on Thursday, July 4, the AT&T-owned services were forced to “black out” the Nexstar channels.
Not a peep has been heard from either side in recent days. This has impacted such stations as news-heavy independent KRON-4 in San Francisco, which still features a banner on its website’s homepage urging DirecTV and AT&T subscribers to take action.
While the dip to $93.05 is unnerving, NXST is still far ahead of its $82 share price seen one year ago.
Whether Nexstar shares fall to that level may be up to AT&T, and to the company founded by Perry Sook in the early 1990s.