TV station owner Gray Television Inc. has set a $3.6 billion deal to buy Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom Media Inc. — a merger that would create the third-largest television broadcast group in the country behind Sinclair and Nexstar.
The deal announced Monday marks Gray’s transformation from a small, regional broadcaster into a leading media company with nationwide scale based on high-quality stations with exceptional talent in 92 markets. According to a statement, the companies say the combined company will have more than 140 television stations.
“Today we announce the transformation of Gray Television into a true leader in the broadcast television industry,” said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., Gray’s chairman, president and CEO. “Combining our company with the excellent Raycom stations and the superb Raycom employees will create a powerhouse local media operation. Together, this new portfolio of leading local media outlets will excel at what they do best, which is to provide the local news that local communities trust, the entertainment and sports content that viewers crave, and the incredible reach that advertisers demand.”
Howell will become executive chairman and co-chief executive officer after the deal closes. Meanwhile Raycom President and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-chief executive officer.
“We are thrilled to be joining Gray Television as we share the same core values of journalistic excellence and community service,” added LaPlatney. “Together, we will be a stronger, more impactful force for our audiences, advertisers, and communities.”
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.