U.S. broadcast station M&A volume reached $4.70 billion in the first quarter of 2016, excluding construction permits and partial deals.
SNL Kagan attributes nearly all the TV volume of $4.61 billion to Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc.’s agreement in January to acquire Media General — a deal which subsequently terminated Media General’s pending $3.10 billion merger agreement with Meredith Corp. Nexstar’s acquisition, at $4.6 billion the fourth-largest TV deal in U.S. history, accounted for 97% of first quarter TV deal volume.
The remaining 3%, or $13.1 million, came from a few small transactions filed before the FCC Incentive Auction quiet period, initiated on January 12. Until the auction runs its course, which could take six to nine months or more, the FCC will not approve any applications for broadcast transactions involving full-power or Class A TV stations.
With the Nexstar/Media General merger remaining the only cash flow transaction in the TV realm, the 8.5x forward buyer’s multiple of that transaction is also the quarterly average.
Radio reached a volume of $89.5 million, representing the lowest quarterly radio deal volume since the first quarter of 2012. The radio market closed the quarter with an average 6.5x multiple — slightly lower than 2015’s 6.7x.
The top radio deal of the quarter was the $10 million sale of non-commercial KUHA-FM in Houston-Galveston, Texas, followed by another non-commercial transaction, the $8 million sale of FM stations KPLI, KPLU, KPLI and KVIX as well as seven translators and one translator construction permit in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., market from Pacific Lutheran University Inc. to University of Washington. In addition, $8 million was paid in radio’s largest cash flow deal of the quarter. CBS Corp. sold KFWB-FM in Los Angeles to Universal Media Access KFWB-AM for an estimated 6.3x forward seller’s multiple.