TEGNA/Charter Chatter Continues As Soohyung Kim Ups Stake

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The television broadcasting company formerly known as Gannett is continuing to fend off a “blackout” of its stations across all Spectrum cable TV markets.


At the same time, it has disclosed that the CEO of the entity that’s just entered into a partnership with Emmis Communications will become “actively engaged” with TEGNA.

With a 2am Eastern deadline on Oct. 1 originally set for a new retransmission fee agreement, Spectrum owner Charter Communications and TEGNA agreed on Tuesday to a temporary extension of its now-expired retrans consent accord.

Negotiations are continuing, TEGNA said via a statement appearing on its station websites, including that of CBS affiliate WTSP-10 in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

The TEGNA station warned, “If a deal is not reached soon, Spectrum subscribers could lose access to WTSP.”

A similarly worded statement appears on the website for NBC affiliate WGRZ-2 in Buffalo and for CBS affiliate KFMB-8 in San Diego.

TEGNA flagship WUSA-9 in Washington, D.C., is not impacted, as Spectrum does not operate in the National Capital Region.

But a total of 45 of its 62 TV stations are potentially impacted, in markets including Seattle, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cleveland and Dallas.

As negotiations continue, TEGNA appears to be holding multiple conversations with Soohyung Kim and his Standard General LP.

As RBR+TVBR first reported in exclusive coverage on August 21, Soo Kim’s Standard General LP in Q2 took a new position in TEGNA, with shares in the company comprising 17.3% of its total portfolio.

That’s 8,869,861 shares; this represents $134.36 million in total value. An August 14 SEC filing confirms the activity.

On Sept. 30, further details of Soo’s stake in TEGNA were disclosed to the SEC.

He now owns 21,124,315 shares in TEGNA, and that’s 9.8% of TEGNA.

It’s a bump from 9.2% equity interest in TEGNA, and with the increase in shares held by Soo, TEGNA says he intends to become “actively engaged” with the company. These activities may include “speaking with management, the board, other shareholders,” and third parties to gather information and share Soo’s views on TEGNA’s “strategic alternatives, including the previously disclosed offers for the company as well any other proposals that may be made to TEGNA.”

In a brief one-paragraph statement, TEGNA on August 21 confirmed it received a letter from Apollo in late February 2019 stating that it was interested in acquiring the owner of broadcast TV stations, without specifying a price.

In June, Apollo made a different proposal — one that would combine TEGNA’s assets with those it is buying from Cox Media Group and Northwest Broadcasting “in a transaction that would not have constituted a change of control of TEGNA.”

That’s where TEGNA’s media relations team decided to cease talking about the matter, placing a Cone of Silence on the subject by confirming that it “does not intend to update this disclosure.”

As of 3:49pm Eastern on Tuesday, TGNA was at $15.23, down 30 cents from Monday.


FROM THE RBR+TVBR ARCHIVES:

Meet The Man Who Created Mediaco With Jeff Smulyan

Who’s Soo Kim? He’s the CEO of the entity that’s just entered into a partnership with Emmis Communications that will see his Standard General take 76% ownership of Mediaco. It’s first two assets are the nation’s biggest radio stations superserving African Americans.