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Standard General to acquire Tegna for $8.6 Billion


dman748

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On 2/24/2022 at 5:18 PM, carolinanews4 said:

Lastly, I originally found the whole WFXT transaction odd. But the NY Post (surprisingly) cleared it up for me.  It is all about retransmission money. Cox gets higher retransmission fees so by owning just one current Cox station, the new TEGNA can charge a higher retrans rate for the entire group. Plus, Cox unloads an underperforming station. So now that part makes sense. 

 

Retransmission fees are killing the golden goose. My cable bill got to be so high that I finally pulled the plug. And a big reason for it was those retransmission fees. And I didn't have a lot of extras, just the medium package.

 

I also don't understand why cable companies don't offer a package that does not include local stations. I am perfectly capable of picking them up off the air. If they were smart, they would have technology to make it seamless, so you can flip back and forth between cable channels and regular tv, like it almost is using a Roku box.

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Posted (edited)

Anything short of creating a new theme that evokes a certain famed six-note signature for the Texas Cox acquisitions (and in the case of WFAA, reverting to News 8 and calling the 10pm newscast the “Update”) would be a huge disappointment…There, I said it!

 

”Working in the Spirit of Texas…this is the News 8 Update!”

 

And for the record, this thread belongs under Corporate Chat…

Edited by SS8609
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The FCC is asking the parties for new information in regards to this transaction.

 

From Bloomberg:

Quote

In its letter, the FCC asked whether the companies plan to coordinate with private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc., which is helping to finance the deal. The New York-based investment firm is acquiring preferred equity in the transaction that doesn’t have governance rights.

 

The agency also asked about possible strategies for negotiating agreements with cable providers for rights to carry TV station signals and inquired about “anticipated staffing reductions.” It set a June 13 deadline for responses.

 

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On 5/29/2022 at 2:56 AM, DirtyHarry said:

 

Retransmission fees are killing the golden goose. My cable bill got to be so high that I finally pulled the plug. And a big reason for it was those retransmission fees. And I didn't have a lot of extras, just the medium package.

I process the cable bills for work, and Comcast charges $18.95 per month as a “broadcast TV Fee” - this is on top of the package to get cable channels. It’s ludicrous!

 

At home, I have an antenna in the attic and get both DC and Baltimore locals - more than I’d get with cable…
 

Jim

Edited by compubit
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5 hours ago, compubit said:

I process the cable bills for work, and Comcast charges $18.95 per month as a “broadcast TV Fee” - this is on top of the package to get cable channels. It’s ludicrous!

 

At home, I have an antenna in the attic and get both DC and Baltimore locals - more than I’d get with cable…
 

Jim

I don't think Comcast/NBCU has EVER had a retransmission spat get into a dispute where channels are pulled.  They simply say "Yes" and just tack on the fee to the customer.

All we've seen is distant NBC affiliates getting pulled in favor of their O&Os....

 

Based on TVNewsCheck's Top 30 list for station groups, Tegna is now #3 behind Gray and ahead of Sinclair with only 51 stations, 39% actual and 32% FCC discounted reach, and $2.88 Billion in revenue.  That outpaces Sinclair's $2.78B total but lags behind Gray's $3.3B. $1.5B of that is advertising, and the rest is retransmission.

https://tvnewscheck.com/business/article/nexstar-still-no-1-gray-scripps-allen-busy-buyers/

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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  • 2 weeks later...

Graham Media has filed a petition to deny, based on the Jacksonville situation and that Apollo would be financing 4 stations there.

 

(An easy way out would be to mandate divestiture of one of the two duopolies there, as well as other conflicting market stations. Since I believe WJXT is #1 in the market, the duopoly with the #5 station would be the one to go, since that would be able to go to a single owner outright.)

Edited by GoldenShine9
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The fact that Graham Media has filled a petition to deny this merger says a lot about where this merger could be heading towards.

 

I've never seen Graham this much outspoken for or against a merger of a competitor, ever.

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Given that both Cox and Tegna own stations in Jacksonville, wouldn't one of their stations, or perhaps one of the duopolies, have to be sold?  I don't see what Graham Media is kicking about.  As I understand it, Cox intends to keep the CBS/Fox duopoly, so the Tegna ABC/NBC duopoly would seem to be a sure bet to be sold.

 

'

Quote

 

 

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1 hour ago, GoldenShine9 said:

Graham Media has filed a petition to deny, based on the Jacksonville situation and that Apollo would be financing 4 stations there.

 

(An easy way out would be to mandate divestiture of one of the two duopolies there, as well as other conflicting market stations. Since I believe WJXT is #1 in the market, the duopoly with the #5 station would be the one to go, since that would be able to go to a single owner outright.)

 

Quote
 

WJXT will be competing with four major network affiliates all financed by Apollo. “The imbalance will harm WJXT’s ability to fairly compete for viewers, advertising revenue, and local talent,” Graham said. 

 

Graham also said that the two Tegna stations already operate a consolidated newsroom in Jacksonville, as do the CMG stations.

 

“There is little reason to think that approving this Transaction and aligning the financial interests of all four network affiliates would reverse this trend or lead to increased investment in local news—and Applicants fail to make a persuasive showing that it would in Jacksonville. To the contrary, private equity firms focused on the bottom line are particularly driven to achieve economic efficiencies by consolidating programming resources—resulting in less, not more, investment in local news and other community programming.,” Graham said. 

They said the quiet part out loud.

 

Surprised this didn't get posted, but Deb McDermott sent a letter to all of Tegna saying no jobs would be cut. In the article they went on to say

Quote

In response to a question about how the deal would be in the public interest, the companies responded that the transaction would create the largest minority-owned and female-led TV broadcasting company in U.S. history. “That would further the commission’s goal of increasing diversity in broadcast station ownership and management,” they said.

 

Like, that's fine and all and I'm glad to see it, but how does that really benefit Jane and John Doe living in Nowhereville, USA? Great! This mega-media company is ran by minorities and women. How does that help them when it comes to local news?

Edited by MidwestTV
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1 hour ago, dman748 said:

The fact that Graham Media has filled a petition to deny this merger says a lot about where this merger could be heading towards.

 

I've never seen Graham this much outspoken for or against a merger of a competitor, ever.

 

It's a unique case but an extremely valid one. If they are attributed all to one owner, you'd have such a case in a top-50 market with all networks in one hand. That would be unprecedented and should never happen except in the smallest markets.

 

I can't see how they can legitimately respond to such an argument.

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13 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

It's a unique case but an extremely valid one. If they are attributed all to one owner, you'd have such a case in a top-50 market with all networks in one hand. That would be unprecedented and should never happen except in the smallest markets.

 

I can't see how they can legitimately respond to such an argument.

I have a theory in mind that I'm going to take over to Speculatron 9000 regarding Cox (what's left of it) and Graham

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10 minutes ago, dman748 said:

I have a theory in mind that I'm going to take over to Speculatron 9000 regarding Cox (what's left of it) and Graham

Graham is well within their right to deny such a merger, since virtually their entire commercial competiton will be tied to Apollo, and that these stations have most of the networks.

 

If one of the networks was to bolt from the Tegna or current Cox stations, ABC would look good on Channel 17 once again.  This way, each owner gets a secondary station to complement their primary affiliation (or the other way around since WFOX and WJXT are the senior partners and the normally "primary" networks play second fiddle.

 

Jacksonville is a screwed up market all because of Allbritton swiping ABC from Media General.  Then they bombed and sold out to Gannett.    Then Post-Newsweek cheaped out on CBS and lost them to Clear Channel.

 

In an alternate universe, had all these companies stayed the course, Sinclair would have kept WJXX, or gotten the Newport stations, or Nexstar would still have Channel 17 through the MG merger, not because of an earlier divestiture.   The ownership picture would be a lot more diverse and not as clashing as it is today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
1 hour ago, nycnewsjunkie said:

The FCC is extending the comment window on the Standard General/Tegna deal.

 

https://www.nexttv.com/news/fcc-gives-tegna-commenters-more-time

 

No doubt that the issue over Apollo’s involvement complicated matters.

 

Not only that, there has been zero response from Soo Kim and the other figures about it at all. They have completely ducked the questions. This has the makings of a deal gone bad. I could see this drawing itself out and Tegna walking away, even if Soo Kim throws more money at them. The outside date is in early 2023?

 

Once Graham put up its petition, that should have been a warning sign.

Edited by GoldenShine9
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12 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

Not only that, there has been zero response from Soo Kim and the other figures about it at all. They have completely ducked the questions. This has the makings of a deal gone bad. I could see this drawing itself out and Tegna walking away, even if Soo Kim throws more money at them. The outside date is in early 2023?

 

Once Graham put up its petition, that should have been a warning sign.

That's a big one right there. I literally had no idea that Kim/Standard never bothered to address Apollo's involvement with this deal to the FCC.

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28 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

Not only that, there has been zero response from Soo Kim and the other figures about it at all. They have completely ducked the questions. This has the makings of a deal gone bad. I could see this drawing itself out and Tegna walking away, even if Soo Kim throws more money at them. The outside date is in early 2023?

 

Once Graham put up its petition, that should have been a warning sign.

To be fair, their attorneys responded to the FCC and essentially stated that the concerns were irrelevant because Apollo was “too small to trigger FCC attribution rules.” IMO, that’s a deflection. Regardless of size, Apollo will still have interests in competing stations in multiple markets.

Edited by nycnewsjunkie
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It’s only a matter of if anyone at Tegna has the good sense to call off the deal before the FCC rejects it out of hand.

 

The one thing you do not want to do is lie to the FCC, and withholding the info about Apollo having a substantial financial stake in the buyout (because Soo can’t afford the company on his own) reaches that level of impropriety.

 

This deal is deader than dead.

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1 hour ago, Myron Falwell said:

It’s only a matter of if anyone at Tegna has the good sense to call off the deal before the FCC rejects it out of hand.

 

The one thing you do not want to do is lie to the FCC, and withholding the info about Apollo having a substantial financial stake in the buyout (because Soo can’t afford the company on his own) reaches that level of impropriety.

 

This deal is deader than dead.

 

Which could renew interest for Allen Media.

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1 hour ago, Myron Falwell said:

It’s only a matter of if anyone at Tegna has the good sense to call off the deal before the FCC rejects it out of hand.

 

The one thing you do not want to do is lie to the FCC, and withholding the info about Apollo having a substantial financial stake in the buyout (because Soo can’t afford the company on his own) reaches that level of impropriety.

 

This deal is deader than dead.

Wasn’t there some sort of termination fee associated with the deal though? That may be why they’re hoping the deal goes through, despite all the obvious issues with it.

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2 minutes ago, nycnewsjunkie said:

Wasn’t there some sort of termination fee associated with the deal though? That may be why they’re hoping the deal goes through, despite all the obvious issues with it.

According to the SEC filing there is a termination fee of $163 million and to address @GoldenShine9's question about when Tegna could terminate this deal, the earliest they could get out of the deal with Standard is in May of next year.

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If my memory is right, a few weeks back both Soo Kim and Deborah McDermott have made statements in response to the some of the criticism.  Including investing in news product, not cutting as well as clarifying Apollo's limited role as a funder and not involved in any part of the operation.  I'm sure they have had to file and answer directly to the FCC much of this in more detail that may not yet be public.  As I read earlier, the FCC giving this more scrutiny vs. the previous FCC regime that except in the Sinclair/Tribune fiasco, rubber stamped most mergers quickly is not a bad thing, but may not indicate a deal is dead.  There can also be negotiations of how to build the wall to prevent Apollo input and if there are any station swapping or selling needed.  It's still playing out, so making conclusions yet is premature.

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8 minutes ago, NowBergen said:

If my memory is right, a few weeks back both Soo Kim and Deborah McDermott have made statements in response to the some of the criticism.  Including investing in news product, not cutting as well as clarifying Apollo's limited role as a funder and not involved in any part of the operation.  I'm sure they have had to file and answer directly to the FCC much of this in more detail that may not yet be public.

Their public statements have been this mix of playing the victim card and tepid deflections (“It’s not true! Proof? Bro. Trust me!”), it’s stunning how unprofessional Soo and Deb have been throughout this process.

 

I’m employing Occam’s Razor for this analysis, and with the level of opposition, FCC scrutiny and Standard General in amateur hour mode, this deal needs to set up an appointment with Dr. Kevorkian.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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1 minute ago, Myron Falwell said:

Their public statements have been this mix of playing the victim card and tepid deflections (“It’s not true! Proof? Bro. Trust me!”), it’s stunning how unprofessional Soo and Deb have been throughout this process.

That's an approach for the court of public opinion.  What they are providing the FCC in response to questions is probably far more detailed.  if not, they have real bad lawyers and advisors.

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5 minutes ago, NowBergen said:

That's an approach for the court of public opinion.  What they are providing the FCC in response to questions is probably far more detailed.  if not, they have real bad lawyers and advisors.

Easy money on Standard General’s legal counsel being that bad.

 

Soo simply thought he could buy Tegna out of sheer hatred for Dave Lougee, and the details didn’t matter.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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