The long journey traveled by Dallas' CW33 TV station appears to be nearing its end. Monday, the massive media conglomerate that owns the station agreed to merge with another massive media conglomerate. This comes after a merger deal between the first media conglomerate and a third media conglomerate fell though earlier this year.
The first conglomerate, should you want to fill in the blanks, is Tribune Media Co., which has been trying to get rid of its portfolio of local stations — including CW33, WGN in Chicago and KTLA in Los Angeles — for several years. Tribune has agreed to merge its 42 stations with Irving-based Nexstar for $46.50 per share, a total of about $6.4 billion.
When the merger is approved, Nexstar will be the largest local media company in the United States, owning and operating 216 stations nationally, including 12 in Texas.
In a statement, Perry Sook, the CEO of Nexstar, touted the expanded audience his company would be able to reach as a result of the deal.
“The transaction offers synergies related to the enhanced scale of the combined broadcast and digital media operations, and increases our audience reach by approximately 50 percent," Sook said. "Furthermore, the addition of the Tribune Media broadcast assets further expands our geographic diversity, as pro forma for the completion of the transaction, we will serve 18 of the nation’s top 25 markets and 37 of the top 50 markets."
Tribune Media's CEO Peter Kern said the deal will allow the combined companies to better compete in the rapidly consolidating local media market.
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"Together with Nexstar we can better compete by delivering a nationally integrated, comprehensive and competitive offering across all our markets," Kern said. "We believe this combination will produce an even stronger broadcast and digital platform that builds on the accomplishments of both companies and benefits our viewers and advertisers."
Monday's merger announcement comes four months after a similar deal between Tribune and Sinclair Media fell through. Sinclair, the current holder of the biggest local-TV behemoth title belt, is notorious for requiring its stations to run conservative, pro-President Donald Trump commentaries from figures like former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka. The deal between Tribune and Sinclair fell through after it came under scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission because it would have given Sinclair multiple stations in several markets. While the FCC ended its strict prohibition on broadcasters owning two stations in a single market in November 2017, the agency still evaluates mergers creating such a situation on a case-by-case basis.
The deal between Nexstar and Tribune could come under similar scrutiny if either the FCC or the Department of Justice doesn't approve of Nexstar's plan for the 15 Tribune markets in which it owns stations.