Wall Street Journal says Nexstar is up for sale


UPDATE: Nexstar confirmed Thursday morning (7/21) that it is exploring “strategic alternatives,” including a possible sale.

Shares of Nexstar Broadcasting Group shot up 26.5% to close at $9.30 on Wednesday (7/20) – and had been as high as $10.28 (a 52-week trading record) – after the Wall Street Journal’s website reported that the TV company is being shopped. There was no comment from Nexstar.

The stock had been trading below the previous day’s close of $7.35 until shortly after noon, when some rumor apparently began to circulate. That was still nearly two hours before the WSJ story was posted online.

The WSJ quoted its sources as saying that Nexstar has hired a financial advisor to solicit potential buyers. That financial advisor was not identified. The report speculated the Nexstar could fetch a price tag approaching $1 billion.

Asked about the report by RBR-TVBR, Nerxstar CEO Perry Sook’s emailed response was, as you might expect, “No comment.”

Nexstar’s majority owner is ABRY Partners. The private equity firm tried to cash out once before, with Nexstar being put up for sale in 2007. That effort was abandoned as the credit crunch and advertising recession rolled in.