Gray Television, Inc. has reached an agreement to divest WJRT-TV, its ABC affiliate for the Flint-Saginaw, Michigan television market, to Byron Allen’s Allen Media Broadcasting, LLC for $70 million dollars in cash.
Gray’s sale of WJRT-TV facilitates regulatory approvals for its pending acquisition of the Local Media Group division of Meredith Corporation by removing the only market overlap between the respective television station portfolios of Gray and Meredith, Gray noted in announcing the deal. Gray is acquiring WNEM-TV, also in the Flint-Saginaw market from Meredith.
The closing for the sale of WJRT-TV is expected to occur in the third or fourth quarter of 2021 prior to the closing of the Gray/Meredith transaction.
WJRT-TV General Manager Pete Veto will remain with Gray after the closing of this sale in a new position that Gray will announce at a later date. The deal is part of Allen Media’s efforts to expand its TV station holdings.
“Over the past year-and-a-half, we’ve invested close to $1 billion to acquire best-in-class, top-tier, broadcast network affiliates and we plan to invest approximately ten billion dollars to acquire more ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX television stations over the next two years with the goal of being the largest broadcast television group in America,” Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO of Allen Media Group. “All of our media assets will work in concert to amplify our free-streaming service, Local Now.”
Upon closing, Allen Media will own and operate twenty-four local television stations in twenty markets, as well as twelve television networks including The Weather Channel and the free-streaming service Local Now.
On April 29, 2021, Gray and Allen Media Group announced that Allen Media Group would acquire ten television stations currently owned by Quincy Media, Inc. for $380 million upon Gray’s anticipated acquisition of Quincy in the third quarter.
“Having to divest WJRT-TV, which we have proudly owned for the past seven years, in order to facilitate our purchase of Meredith’s television stations is bittersweet,” said Gray’s executive chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell. “The wonderful WJRT-TV staff has done an exemplary job serving the Flint-Saginaw community, and we are disappointed to lose them. Nevertheless, we are excited that Byron Allen and his team will follow us as the next dedicated stewards of this fine television station.”
Upon the closing of its acquisitions of Quincy Media, Inc. and the television stations of Meredith Corporation, Gray will become the nation’s second largest television broadcaster, with television stations serving 113 markets that reach approximately 36 percent of US television households. The pro forma portfolio includes 79 markets with the top-rated television station and 101 markets with the first and/or second highest rated television station according to Comscore’s audience measurement data.