Tribune Publishing is selling BestReviews to Nexstar Inc., a subsidiary of TV broadcast company Nexstar Media Group, for $160 million in cash.
BestReviews LLC is 60% owned by Tribune and 40% by its founders, BR Holding Company, Inc.
Tribune Publishing invested $66 million in the now-profitable review and recommendation ecommerce and content website, in February 2018.
Tribune will receive 60% of the cash selling price net of transaction fees.
The company will also enter a licensing and revenue sharing agreement for BestReviews content on Tribune Publishing websites.
The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval.
“While Tribune Publishing will not have an ongoing ownership interest, we look forward to a continuing commercial relationship with BestReviews as a partner in content and commerce,” stated Terry Jimenez, CEO of Tribune Publishing Company and chairman of BestReviews.
“This cash return strengthens our already robust balance sheet and provides financial and operational flexibility,” Jimenez added. “We intend to provide a clear capital allocation strategy in the near future.”
BestReviews has an audience of 9 million monthly visitors. It has published over 40,000 product reviews.It monetizes its content through a revenue share model with retail partners.
Nexstar bought Tribune Media, former parent company of Tribune Publishing, for $4.1 billion last year.
“We are ideally positioned to quickly scale BestReviews through increased content syndication and brand awareness,” stated Tom Carter, Nexstar president, COO-CFO.
Nexstar will develop the company's local content and new marketing solutions for advertisers, noted Karen Brophy, Nexstar Inc. president of digital.
Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun, among other local newspaper titles.
Last month, the company's third-quarter earnings report revealed total revenues for Tribune Publishing were $188.7 million, down from $236 million in Q3 2019, about a 20% dip.
Digital content revenues increased 67% year-over-year. Digital-only subscriber revenue increased 67.4%, or $5.1 million year-over-year.