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SHOCKER: Scripps and Journal to merge


Glimmer

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I wouldn't say this is a shocker. Honestly, with all the M&A action in the past few years, I was wondering how long it would take until Journal (mainly because it is a small group) would be acquired by or agree to merge with another broadcaster.

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It will be interesting to see what kind of corporate culture emerges with the new Scripps. Will they be averse to syndicated programming like Scipps? Or despise subtle graphics like Journal? Will Scripps continue their standardization as is? How will they get along with CBS and Fox?

 

I'm sure KNXV and KGUN will start cooperating a lot more; WFTX might get some help from WFTS and WPTV, as well.

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Wow. This came out of left field for sure. Major shocker here in Milwaukee; the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and WTMJ TV and Radio have *very* close ties. I mean, hell, the "TMJ" in the callsigns stand for "The Milwaukee Journal." It's going to be very weird to unravel those ties.

 

I wonder how long they retain the former Journal radio group; Scripps does not currently own any radio stations, and I somehow doubt they're really interested in them (despite selling "ownership of TV and radio in five markets" as a benefit to the merger.) Only thing - I'm not sure who would WANT the radio stations these days.

 

Gonna take me a bit to process this...

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At the least, WTMJ and WLWK will probably be retained as Scripps-Journal's "legacy" radio stations... not unlike how Hearst has kept Baltimore's WBAL and WIYY, Tribune has always held onto WGN, and S!nclair has retained KVI, KOMO and KPLZ.

 

The rest of Journal's radio stations are probably going to be unloaded. Without the benefit of any research, Townsquare is likely the best possible buyer for them.

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Wow. This came out of left field for sure. Major shocker here in Milwaukee; the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and WTMJ TV and Radio have *very* close ties. I mean, hell, the "TMJ" in the callsigns stand for "The Milwaukee Journal." It's going to be very weird to unravel those ties.

 

I wonder how long they retain the former Journal radio group; Scripps does not currently own any radio stations, and I somehow doubt they're really interested in them (despite selling "ownership of TV and radio in five markets" as a benefit to the merger.) Only thing - I'm not sure who would WANT the radio stations these days.

 

Gonna take me a bit to process this...

 

 

I like to think of radio as a great way for companies to extend their TV news brand to other mediums. Thing is, you don't actually have to own both a radio and TV station to do that. A lot of TV/Radio news agreements are between stations owned by different companies. I don't see Scripps holding on to the radio stations for very long. For that matter, I don't see Sinclair holding on to their Seattle radio cluster for very long, either.
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I had the impression for awhile that Scripps was starting to gradually wind down their "old media" assets. Of course, the Cincinnati Post and Rocky Mountain News both shut down at the end of this past decade. And most notably, United Media (aka, the "United Features Syndicate" for fans of "Peanuts" and "Garfield," and an offshoot of United Press International) effectively ceased to exist in 2011 when their distribution contracts were sold to Universal Uclick.

 

Merging with Journal and spinning off the combined companies' newspaper assets into a separate company is probably the best possible outcome for Scripps at large.

 

Your turn, Gannett...

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United actually hasn't had anything to do with Garfield in years; Jim Davis himself bought the IP in 1994, and the rights went to Universal Media Syndicate at that time.

 

More to the point, I now wonder what will become of Meredith. They seem like an increasingly obvious takeover target, and this deal makes it even more obvious.

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I had the impression for awhile that Scripps was starting to gradually wind down their "old media" assets. Of course, the Cincinnati Post and Rocky Mountain News both shut down at the end of this past decade. And most notably, United Media (aka, the "United Features Syndicate" for fans of "Peanuts" and "Garfield," and an offshoot of United Press International) effectively ceased to exist in 2011 when their distribution contracts were sold to Universal Uclick.

 

Merging with Journal and spinning off the combined companies' newspaper assets into a separate company is probably the best possible outcome for Scripps at large.

 

Your turn, Gannett...

 

Who would Gannett want to buy, though? If they want to keep up with the Jones' here, they might be better off picking up smaller groups (thinking KSNV or KLAS; Sunbeam; Waterman; West Virginia Media, even?)
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Because it involves radio stations, Lance Venta at RadioInsight has the story and press release.

 

Apparently, the combined company is excited to be (re)entering the radio business...

 

Benefits for Scripps

 

The merger will create significant strategic and financial benefits for Scripps including:

 

- Creating the opportunity for improving TV division margins;

- Adding a profitable radio business;

- Positioning the TV group in attractive markets across the country, including stations in eight important political states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin;

- Extending Scripps’ position as one of the largest owners of ABC-affiliated TV stations in the country by market reach, with 15 ABC affiliates, and expanding its affiliations to all of the Big Four networks;

- Benefitting from co-ownership of TV and radio in five markets;

- Leveraging high-quality journalism and Scripps’ original television programming across a larger geographic footprint;

- and Maintaining a strong balance sheet, with expected net leverage at closing estimated at about 2x, allowing plenty of capacity for additional acquisitions.

They wouldn't put that in the press release if the stations were meant to be sold off automatically.

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Well, there is some overlap between the two with radio. In Tulsa, Scripps has KJRH and Journal owns radio stations there. I can actually see them keeping it.

 

Unanswered question: Who gets the digital business (which includes Newsy and the Storm Shield app) and who gets the Scripps Spelling Bee? Do both stay with what will now be the television broadcaster?

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...so radio and newspaper cross ownership is allowed....but newspaper and TV ownership is not?

 

I always thought that they were subject to the same rule as TV stations. What sayeth the FCC about this?

 

:bang: :bang: :bang:

 

I know there has been grandfathering in places like Columbus, Ohio (where Dispatch has the trifecta of newspaper, radio AND TV). But weren't new deals after the ban denied?

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Well, there is some overlap between the two with radio. In Tulsa, Scripps has KJRH and Journal owns radio stations there. I can actually see them keeping it.

 

Unanswered question: Who gets the digital business (which includes Newsy and the Storm Shield app) and who gets the Scripps Spelling Bee? Do both stay with what will now be the television broadcaster?

Scripps is keeping the Spelling Bee. And Scripps is being positioned as a "broadcast and digital media" company, so draw your own conclusions.
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So they will now have 34 TV stations and 35 radio stations reaching 18% of the US? LOTS more room to grow to get to the cap. The press release claims the 5th largest broadcaster while that TVnewscheck article says 11th biggest TV station group. Not sure which number is more correct.

 

Hopefully they improve the on-air look and programming quality with all the extra revenue and lack of newspapers weighing them down. Interesting that the Scripps newspaper head is going to lead the new newspaper operation.

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So basically the newspapers are being spun off. Scripps absorbs Journal's radio and television stations and everything else about Scripps currently is structurally the same.

 

Exactly.
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Here's the answer to many questions. Scripps will on 61% of TV assets. Journal will own remaining percent. Spelling Bee stays under Scripps Name. Answers about Newsy here too.

I think you meant Scripps shareholders will own 61% of the TV company, with Journal shareholders owning 39%. (Scripps shareholders will own 59% of Journal Media Group, nod Journal shareholders will own 41%, respectively.)
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