For the second time in a month, ownership of a local TV station is changing hands through a big-money deal.
Chicago-based Tribune Company announced a deal Monday to acquire 19 television stations, including WTVR Channel 6 in Richmond, from Local TV Holdings LLC.
Tribune will pay $2.72 billion in cash for the stations. It already owns 23 TV stations and major newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
The 19 stations in 16 markets make up the entirety of Local TV’s portfolio. The company is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, a New York private equity firm.
WTVR, the local CBS affiliate, has 145 employees, according to general manager Stephen Hayes.
“We’re excited about Tribune taking over,” Hayes said. WTVR operates out of its station at 3301 W. Broad St.
The pending acquisition of WTVR and its sister stations follows a deal announced in early June that Richmond-based Media General would merge with New Young Broadcasting. That deal will bring the private Nashville company’s 12 TV stations – including Richmond’s WRIC Channel 8 – into the Media General fold.
This marks Tribune’s entrance into the Richmond market. The company’s nearest holdings are the Daily Press newspaper in Newport News and WDCW in Washington.
It will also purchase WTKR Channel 3 in Norfolk from Local TV.
Tribune said it is financing the acquisition with a combination of debt and cash. It said it has up to $4.1 billion in financing from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.
The boards of Tribune and Local TV have approved the deal. It must still be approved by the FCC. It’s expected to close by the end of the year, Tribune said.