Nexstar Back On Sales Block


The sprawling Nexstar station group, which operates affiliates of all major networks, is exploring a sale once again. A 2007 effort was scuttled as the economy weakened.

Moelis & Co. has been retained as an advisor. Goldman Sachs held the role the last time.

Nexstar says it now owns or operates 63 TV stations in 34 markets and reaches approximately 11.5% of all U.S. television households. It owns or manages stations that include the sizable Salt Lake City market and the tiny St. Joseph, Missouri DMA, as well as dozens in between.

In May, it brokered a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC for nine stations. Earlier this month, Nexstar completed the acquisitions of two CBS affiliates in Wisconsin and Michigan from Liberty Media for $20 million.

The company, which posted a first-quarter loss on a slight revenue gain, says it has no timetable for a sale or another financial maneuver. Nexstar reported revenue of $313 million last year.



Under CEO Perry Sook, Nexstar has been a pacesetter in pushing cable/ satellite/telco TV operators to pay retrans consent dollars to carry its stations.

Nexstar, which like every station group has been trying to upgrade its digital activity, said last week it had acquired GoLocal.Biz, which will be used to offer local directories, coupon services and entertainment listings to company community Web sites.

Noting that three other station groups -- McGraw-Hill, Freedom and Young -- are for sale, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote: "While there is significant supply, we believe potential bidders will include both strategic and private equity groups -- both of which we believe are looking hard at these assets."

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