Belo, WFAA's Corporate Parent, Just Sold for $1.5 Billion

Categories: Biz, Media

Thumbnail image for beloblds.jpg
USA Today, of course, broke the news this morning: Gannett Co., the newspaper's parent, is acquiring Dallas' Belo Corp for $1.5 billion:

Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus assume $715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1% premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.

President and Chief Executive Officer Gracia Martore of Gannett, said, "We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership."

The acquisition is being portrayed as a move by Gannett to diversify its media portfolio as print revenues continue to decline. It nearly doubles the number of network affiliates owned by Gannett, adding 20, including WFAA, to its current lineup of 23.

The deal does not include The Dallas Morning News, which is under the umbrella of a separate entity, the A.H. Belo Corporation.


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25 comments
jojorundy32
jojorundy32

I worked for Belo at one of their television stations, and I must say in my 25 years of working in the television news business, I never worked for a more mismanaged operation.  While Belo corporate was investing in crap like the CueCat, sports franchises and cheating the Dallas Morning News advertisers....they were firing hard working people up and down the isles to make up for their fuck ups!  It was always about the stock price, not about journalistic integrity or any of that other spew they regurgitated day in and day out!  I hope Gannett comes in and cleans house and brings back some sense of real broadcast value to the corporation.   Jim

jamesjimcie
jamesjimcie

I would rather see Gannett gaining WFSB, and WSHM-LD by spinning off KSAW, KMSB/KTTU, and KMOV to Meredith and combined the operations of KSAW with KPHO, and gaining KGTV/KZSD-LP, and KERO/KZKC-LP by spinning off KTVK, and WHAS to Scripps and combined the operations of KTVK with KNXV with ABC moving to KTVK and KNXV becomes independent. LIN could buy WSET and WCIV from Allbritton and KSTU, KDVR and turned into a CW station with KWGN getting FOX, WDAF, KTVI and turned into a ABC station with KPLR getting FOX and KDNL getting CW, WITI with the option of also acquiring WIWN from Pappas if they would want to fully sale the station in the future, WJW, WHNT, WGHP and turned into a ABC station with WXLV getting FOX, and maybe WNEP from Local TV LLC, while Meredith could buy KWGN and KPLR if Tribune would ever sale various stations to help pay off it's debt from their 2008 bankruptcy and buy KFOR/KAUT, KFSM/KXNW, WHO, WQAD, WREG, WTVR, and WTKR/WGNT from Local TV LLC. I would allow FOX to buy KPLR and KWGN from Tribune if I still want Meredith to own KSAW, KMSB/KTTU, and KMOV from Belo.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo eyez not be saying eyez’ gifted or nothin’ but eyez created my own birf certificate with da Photoshop.

halldecker
halldecker

As a legendary veteran of WFAA emailed me,  "There won't be any changes in operations or personnel."

"Until the ink is still wet on the paperwork."
 

Don_O
Don_O

Who gets the Cue Cat?

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

I don't know what's more interesting: the fact that the outstanding debt on Belo was almost half of the main payment price, or that nobody made more of how Gannett is trying to diversify its portfolio to compensate for declining print revenues. That makes me wonder a lot about the fate of the Dallas Morning News after this. I mean, I know Robert Dechard is going to be masturbating like a caged ape over this windfall. However, considering that the Morning News and WFAA are practically cojoined twins when it came to news coverage, will this deal mean that the Morning News has to pay for content from WFAA and vice versa?

And then there's the real question: what's the plan for TXCN, Dechard's dumbest idea since buying into the CueCat? Is Gannett contractually obligated to keep that chunk of roadkill going, no matter the losses, or will it dump the whole mess the moment the deal gets finalized?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

$2.2 billion.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Big USA Today headline.  As if anyone not affiliated with them gives a crap.

anon
anon

@LeroyJenkem if the two businesses are legally separate, they will already have to be entered into arms length deals for content. unless there was a change of control provision, that contract will follow the deal to the new owner. and even if there was a change of control, the buyer will likely have pre-negotiated terms that are acceptable to them. you don't spend this kind of money on a business, take it over, and then find out that you either have no content or have to pay up for it.

also, in that industry, having 50% of your capital structure as debt is low. it's typically closer to 60-75%

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@holmantx to be fair, the first reports this morning i heard also said 1.5 billion, now Im hearing both, so who knows

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Can I suggest you consider giving a crap? There aren't a lot of people in the streets trying to find stories, and WFAA employs some of the better ones. Will Gannett give them the resources and support they need to keep doing it? If they do, great. If they don't?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz thats pretty big news here, im sure there are a few HIGHLY paid employees not on the board that may be sweating this news though

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

That's a good question, and mostly depending upon whether Gannett's previous forays into broadcast news have a management style closer to King Log than King Stork. If the idea is to revitalize new broadcast properties the way Gannett revamped USAToday years back, with a management team interested in new directions, great. My fear right now isn't that we'll see WFAA's staff dumped and shut down. My biggest fear is that Gannett follows the precedent set by Tribune Media, hires a herd of fratboy jackasses worried only about getting their executive retention bonuses to run WFAA, and grinds all value out of the station over the next few years.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@joe.tone Eh... the comment was aimed at USA Today giving top headlines to news about its own company.

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