Nexstar in talks to buy Media General for around $17.50/shr -sources

Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:16pm EST
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By Jessica Toonkel and Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - Nexstar Broadcasting Group (NXST.O: Quote) is in talks to buy Media General MEG.N for around $17.50 per share in a more than $2 billion deal that would create the second largest U.S. local television broadcaster, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Timing of the deal is uncertain and an agreement could still fall through, the sources said, asking not to be named because the matter is confidential.

Representatives from Nexstar and Media General declined to comment.

Media General's shares rose as much as 4.7 percent after the news and last traded up 50 cents or 2.6 percent at $15.91.

The acquisition, if completed, would mark the end of a more than four-month effort by the Irving, Texas-based broadcaster led by chief executive Perry Sook to buy Richmond, Virginia-based Media General. A deal would also end a bid by Media General to buy New York-based Meredith Corp (MDP.N: Quote) for $2.34 billion.

U.S. broadcasters have been looking to consolidate in recent years to improve their ability to attract local ad dollars and lucrative fees collected from cable companies, which pay local TV stations to carry their signals.

In September, Nexstar made an unsolicited bid of $14.50 per share, a deal valued at $4.1 billion, to buy rival Media General, just weeks after Media General had announced a deal to acquire Meredith Corp. Media General rejected a sweetened takeover from Nexstar earlier this month.

Meredith will have a chance to respond to Nexstar's offer and has already spoken to Media General about its options, according to a separate source familiar with the matter.   Continued...