That was fast. Gannett not only completed the $1.5B (not including debt) deal to buy TV station power Belo — it also announced an agreement to sell St. Louis’ KMOV just a week after it agreed to do so to win Justice Department approval for the transaction. Meredith Corp. will pay about $407.5M for KMOV as well as two Belo stations in Phoenix: independent KTVK and CW affiliate KASW. “Meredith is a highly respected multi-media company which shares our commitment to outstanding local journalism, and we are confident that these stations will be in good hands,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore says. She adds that the terms “will significantly lower the effective purchase price for Belo while reducing only minimally the expected synergies associated with the Belo transaction.” The company says that the loss of the three stations will only cut about $2M of the $175M in annual synergies it expects to realize over the next three years. Gannett will continue to wield a lot of clout in the two cities: It owns NBC affiliates KSDK in St. Louis and KPNX in Phoenix. The FCC approved the deal with Belo late last week. Gannett — which was already the No. 1 owner of NBC affiliates — now also is the top independent owner of CBS affiliates, and No. 4 with ABC. Gannett shares are up 3.4% at mid-day while Meredith is +5.2%.
The partnership involves big names in local TV including Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, and Media General. They want to enhance TV viewing beginning in early 2012 by offering an app that enables Apple or Android mobile devices to automatically detect what you’re watching. The stations then would feed additional info about the shows — including local and syndicated fare — as well as opportunities to connect with other viewers. Yes, they’ll also send ads to your device. Here’s how they describe the free service, to be called ConnecTV:
DES MOINES, IA/NEW YORK, N.Y., OCTOBER 12, 2011 – Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP, www.meredith.com ) announced today that it has reached agreement in principle with author and television personality Rachael Ray for Meredith to acquire Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and its related digital media assets from the Reader’s Digest Association. The transaction is expected to close later this fall. The acquisition will include the very popular and award-winning magazine that’s published 10 times annually and reaches an audience of 7.3 million with a ratebase of 1.7 million, as well as a robust website (www.rachaelraymag.com). Every Day with Rachael Ray has received numerous honors including being named Magazine Launch of the Year by Advertising Age, and to both Advertising Age’s A-List and ADWEEK’s Hot List of top titles.