ATLANTA, GA — Gray Television has reached an agreement with United Communications to acquire its three TV stations for a total purchase price of $45 million.
This involves a full-power and low-power station in far northern New York State and a CBS/FOX affiliate in Minnesota.
Now set to be O&Os in Gray’s stable are CBS affiliate WWNY-TV and low-power FOX affiliate WNYF-CD in Watertown, N.Y., DMA No. 178; and KEYC-TV in in Mankato, Minn., DMA No. 199. KEYC airs CBS programming on its main signal and FOX programming on its DT-2 signal.
“We are honored to be selected by United as the new owners of legacy stations WWNY and KEYC,” said Kevin Latek, Gray’s Chief Legal and Development Officer. “We look forward to working with their dedicated employees to further enhance these stations’ record of service and success.”
Lucy Brown, President of United Communications, commented, “Exiting the broadcast industry and communities we have come to love is very difficult. United’s Board came to this decision with a heavy heart, but one that looks to the future with great optimism. We determined that though our TV stations enjoy tremendous success, the time has come when ownership by a larger group offers greater prospects to compete in this new media environment. With Gray we found a broadcast company with shared values and commitments to localism. We are confident that Gray will provide the resources and leadership to allow our employees and stations to best serve their local communities going forward.”
WWNY and KEYC each consistently achieves #1 ratings in all major dayparts in itsrespective local market, and each station has very deep roots in its local community.
These stations represent Gray’s first television stations located in New York State and Minnesota. The stations, however, “complement Gray’s existing exposure to and coverage of these states from legacy Gray stations located in other markets that spill into other areas of Upstate New York and Minnesota,” Gray said.
“This transaction advances Gray’s strategy of enhancing shareholder value through select acquisitions of highly rated stations that share the culture and values of our existing television stations,” the company added. “We anticipate that the transaction will be immediately free cash flow accretive, and we will fund the acquisition with cash on hand.”
Gray anticipates closing the transaction following receipt of regulatory and other approvals in the second quarter of 2019.