Tegna acquired by Standard General in $8.6 billion deal

Tegna, one of the U.S.’s largest broadcast television station groups, has been acquired by Standard General in a deal valued at $8.6 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, Standard General will pay $24 per share in cash for an equity value of approximately $5.4 billion—or $8.6 billion including the assumption of debt--for Tegna's operations that include 64 U.S. television stations. The companies said the transaction represents a premium of approximately 39% to Tegna’s closing share price on September 14, 2021, which they said was the last full trading day prior to media speculation about a potential sale of Tegna.

Following the close of the transaction, Standard Media CEO Deb McDermott will take over as CEO of Tegna and Soo Kim, founding partner of Standard General, will take over as chairman for the company. Current CEO Dave Lougee will depart the company.

“I am honored to lead Tegna’s team to create new opportunities and build on its heritage and successes achieved under Dave’s leadership. Tegna’s stations have earned excellent reputations as leading local content providers, and Tegna’s digital and content assets are a key part of its future in an evolving media landscape,” McDermott said in a statement.

RELATED: Tegna reaches new carriage agreement with Mediacom

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and needs approvals from Tegna shareholders and U.S. regulators. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

Standard General plans to sell off its Tegna stations in Austin (KVUE), Dallas (WFAA and KMPX) and Houston (KHOU and KTBU) to Cox Media Group after the deal closes. The FCC’s media ownership rules bar single companies from owning broadcast television stations that reach more than 39% of U.S. households.

Premion, Tegna’s advanced advertising business, is expected to operate as a standalone business majority owned by Cox Media Group and Standard General. Upon completion of the transaction, Tegna will become a private company and its shares will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The official acquisition announcement from Tegna follows months of speculation about a potential deal. Over the past few months, Tegna resolved its outstanding carriage disputes with several pay TV providers including Dish Network, Verizon Fios and Mediacom.