TV Station Deal Volume Down For 2017, Radio Higher

Volume for broadcast TV station deals was down slightly in 2017 from the year before -- with radio station deals sharply higher.

Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence’s media research unit, says TV stations' deals announced this past year totaled $5.03 billion versus $5.3 billion in 2016. The biggest deal was Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.76 billion agreement to buy Tribune Media in April.  

The Sinclair-Tribune deal represents 75% of total TV station deal-making last year.

Radio deals were at $3.2 billion -- six times the level it achieved in 2016 of $526 million. This was the largest volume for radio since 2006 -- with 80% of this year’s total coming from the $2.56 billion deal that CBS Radio struck to merge its business with Entercom Communications, announced in February.

In the last quarter of 2017, TV deals amounted to $748.8 million, while radio was at $248.3 million.

The biggest deal in this period was Tegna Inc.'s $325 million buy of Midwest Television stations in the San Diego, California market. For radio, it was Cumulus Media’s $50 million deal for Merlin Media’s Chicago's Alternative WKQX-FM and Classic Rock WLUP-FM stations.

Taking out the two big deals of the last two years -- Nexstar Broadcasting Group's $4.6 billion agreement to buy Media General in 2016 and Sinclair-Tribune's $3.76 billion -- 2017 still witnessed a 79% rise in volume.

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