LIN Media, Media General plan broadcast merger

LIN Media and Media General announced Friday morning that they are merging to form the second largest pure-play U.S. broadcasting group.

If the FCC approves the merger, the new combined group will reach 46 markets or about 23 percent of the American population.

Half of the stations involved are affiliated with one of the big four networks.

At least a few of the stations may have to be sold off or run by other companies to avoid FCC restrictions on cross ownership in a single market.

It is just the latest in a flurry of acquisitions and mergers in the TV industry that has seen Belo broadcast and Gannett merge and earlier, Media General and Young Broadcasting combined forces. Other players including Meredith, Journal, Tribune, NBC Universal and Sinclair have been recent buyers, too.

According to the announcement by LIN and Media General, which came before the stock market opening Friday, LIN will receive $763 million in cash and 49.5 million shares of stock. When the dust settles, LIN will own 36 percent of the new company, Media General shareholders will hold 64 percent.

LIN President and CEO Vincent Sadusky will be the president and CEO of the new organization, which will still bear the name of Media General.

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