The E.W. Scripps Co., owner of TV stations and local TV digital-based TV networks, is buying ION Media, a national broadcast network, for $2.65 billion.
Along with Scripps’ Katz local digital TV networks, and Newsy, a digital news TV platform, it is buying the West Palm Beach, Florida-based TV network “to create a full-scale national television networks business.”
It intends to combine ION with Katz and Newsy to offer “advertisers a larger platform on which to reach their audiences.” Scripps says ION has the fifth-largest viewership average in prime time among broadcast networks.
Scripps expects ION Media’s national advertising revenue to be down by mid-teens percentages for 2020.
Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets.
Scripps bought Newsy for $35 million in 2018. The year before that, Scripps bought Katz Broadcasting’s three networks -- including Court TV, Grit and Laff -- as well as Bounce, which Katz operates, for $292 million,
Today, ION distributes programming through 71 television stations it owns in 62 markets and 124 affiliated TV stations, reaching 96% of U.S. homes.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will make a $600 million preferred equity investment in Scripps to finance the transaction.