Missouri media outlets would change hands in Gray-Raycom deal

Multiple Missouri media outlets would change hands under Gray Television’s proposed $3.65 billion acquisition of Raycom Media.

The merger between Atlanta-based Gray and Birmingham, Alabama-based Raycom was announced Monday. It would bring together 142 television stations in 92 markets, according to a press release from Gray. The combined company would reach about 24 percent of U.S. television households, more than doubling Gray’s reach, and would be the largest owner of local television stations and digital assets in the country.

Gray has two properties in Missouri: KSPR, an ABC affiliate in Springfield, and KY3, an NBC affiliate in Springfield.

Raycom owns three channels in the state: KFVS, a CBS affiliate in Cape Girardeau, as well as WQWQ and WQTV, CW affiliates in Cape Girardeau

As part of the deal, Raycom would sell or spin off CNHI (formerly Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.), its unit that owns community newspapers, and PureCars, a digital platform for the automotive industry.

CNHI owns another Missouri media outlet, The Joplin Globe newspaper.

Gray plans to fund the acquisition with $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in new preferred stock and 11.4 million shares of common stock, valued at $147.million as of Friday.

Shares of Gray rose about 22 percent, to $16.15, between market close Friday and market close Wednesday.

Raycom has focused on broadcast and print media and production companies in the South, while Gray has largely owned stations in small and midsize markets across the U.S.

Raycom President and Chief Executive Officer Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-chief executive officer, alongside Gray CEO Hilton Howell.

The move comes at a time when the Federal Communications Commission is moving to relax regulations on media companies’ ability to own multiple media outlets in the same market. Another major broadcaster, Sinclair Broadcast Group, is seeking approval from the FCC and U.S. Justice Department for its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co.

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