KXAN ownership change set for Friday

Austin-based LIN Media is merging with Media General.
Austin-based LIN Media is merging with Media General.

Media General’s merger with Austin-based LIN Media has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, clearing the way for the $1.6 billion deal to close Friday, the two companies said.

LIN Media owns or operates about 50 TV stations across the country, including three in Austin: NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO.

The combined company will use the Media General name, be traded on the New York Stock Exchange using Media General’s MEG ticker symbol and will be based out of Media General’s headquarters in Richmond, Va., although some corporate employees will continue to call Austin home.

First announced in March, the merger took nearly nine months to work its way through the federal approval process, including a review by the U.S. Department of Justice. To allay regulators’ concerns, the two companies agreed to sell off some stations in five cities where both LIN Media and Media General operate: Birmingham, Ala.; Mobile, Ala.; Savannah, Ga.; Providence, R.I.; and Green Bay, Wis.

“We will now move forward to quickly integrate our operations and build upon our shared values for providing relevant local journalism and deep community engagement, both of which strengthen our ties to viewers and advertisers,” J. Stewart Bryan III, chairman of the Media General board, said in a written statement. “The powerful combination of two strong local television broadcasters enhances our leadership position as we compete in the rapidly evolving media landscape, thus enabling us to deliver greater shareholder value.”

Post-merger, Media General will own or operate 71 stations in 48 cities, reaching 27.5 million U.S. households.

“The new Media General will have significant national reach and scale, numerous synergies, a diversified portfolio and, importantly, opportunities to grow our industry-leading digital business,” said LIN Media president and CEO Vincent Sadusky, who will take over as president and CEO of Media General. “We have an experienced and talented management team that is already hard at work on plans to bring our two great, complementary cultures together.”

Owner of KXAN posts third-quarter loss

Even though revenue increased, Austin-based LIN Media reported a third quarter loss of $20.4 million, the company said Thursday.

KXAN is one of three Austin stations owned by LIN Media.

LIN owns or operates 43 TV stations nationwide, including three in Austin: NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO.

The loss was the result of a revaluation of WISH, a station LIN owns in Indianapolis, Ind., that will lose its long-standing CBS affiliation next year.

The impending change, which will strip the station of valuable network programming such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” decreased WISH’s value by $60.9 million, LIN said.

The net loss per diluted share works out to 49 cents, compared to net income per diluted share of $2.63 during the same quarter last year.

LIN, which is in the process of being acquired by Virginia-based Media General, reported third quarter revenue of $192.1 million, an 18 percent year-over-year increase.

“Continued growth and expansion of our digital media business, robust political advertising and increasing subscriber fees helped drive our strong results during the third, and likely final quarter before we close on our merger with Media General,” LIN president and CEO Vincent Sadusky said in a written statement. “This is an exciting time as we prepare to combine and create one of the largest broadcast companies in the U.S., with the largest and most diversified digital business in our industry. I have great confidence in our ability to successfully execute our integration plans and capitalize on numerous growth opportunities.”

LIN stock closed at $23.48 Thursday, up 23 cents.