Mid-size TV station groups Gray Television and Raycom Media are merging — as expected higher media merger activity is taking hold.
The cash-and-stock deal, valued at $3.6 billion, will give Gray Television 142 stations in 92 markets with a U.S. household coverage of 24%. The companies say it will be the third-largest group of TV stations under a single ownership.
Gray Television will now have stations in mid-size TV markets, such as Tampa-Sarasota, Cleveland and Charlotte, as well as TV stations in smaller markets.
Pat LaPlatney will become co-CEO-president of Gray Television; LaPlatney had been president-CEO of Raycom Media. Hilton Howell will become executive chairman-co-CEO of Gray Television. Howell had been chairman, president-CEO of Gray Television.
At the same time, the new company will sell off nine stations where both station groups have overlapping outlets. The company said the deal “should create only minimal regulatory issues.” The current cap for ownership of TV stations is 39% of U.S. TV homes.
Gray Television’s stock soared 15% in early Monday trading to $14.70. Raycom Media is a privately owned company.
Media analysts expect more TV and media acquisition deals after a U.S. District Court judge recently cleared AT&T’s $85 billion deal for Time Warner.