Tribune Company has agreed to buy 19 television stations from Local TV Holdings in a $2.7 billion deal announced Monday.
The move means that Tribune will now own a total of 42 television stations, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Meg James. The stations are in 16 markets, including Cleveland, Kansas City and Salt Lake City.
Tribune also would have five CBS affiliates, three ABC affiliates and two NBC stations. The company would own 14 stations in the nation’s top 20 markets. The deal would benefit the company by increasing its footprint in such important political battleground states as Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania. In past election years, stations in pivotal states have attracted a wealth of campaign spending.
Tribune Chief Executive Peter Liguori said in a statement that this is a transformational acquisition” that makes Tribune “the No. 1 local TV affiliate group in America.”
The news comes at a time when Tribune — which emerged from bankruptcy protection last December — is considering a potential sale of its newspapers; possible bidders include the Koch brothers. This is the second time in the past month that a major media company has bought TV stations; in June, Gannett announced a $2.2 billion deal to buy Belo Corp.’s 20 big-city television stations.