The parent companies of four Indianapolis television stations are merging. Texas-based Nexstar Media Group Inc. (Nasdaq: NXST), which owns WISH-TV and WNDY-TV, has announced a $6.4 billion acquisition of Illinois-based Tribune Media Co. (NYSE: TRCO), which owns WXIN-TV and WTTV-TV.
The acquisition has already been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. However, the deal remains subject to approval by Tribune shareholders, as well as the Federal Communications Commission and the satisfaction of antitrust conditions.
Nexstar says it intends to divest certain television stations in order to comply with regulatory ownership limits. It is not yet known if any Indianapolis stations will be involved in that effort.
"Nexstar has long viewed the acquisition of Tribune Media as a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate value to shareholders of both companies," Perry Sook, chief executive officer of Nexstar said in a news release. "We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate."
Sook says the company has developed a comprehensive regulatory compliance plan which he believes creates a clear path to closing. The acquisition is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2019.
Tribune Media had previously been involved in merger with Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI). However, that deal came to an end in August when Tribune terminated its merger agreement and filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Sinclair.