Gannett Co. has reached an agreement to acquire Belo Corp., owner of 20 big-city television stations, in a deal valued at $2.2 billion.
The deal, unveiled Thursday morning, will almost double the number of TV stations Gannett owns, going from 23 to 43. Already the largest owner of NBC affiliates, Gannett will now be the biggest independent owner of CBS affiliates and the fourth-largest owner of ABC affiliates.
Under terms of the deal, Gannett will pay $1.5 billion in cash and assume $715 million in debt. The per-share price is $13.75.
"By enhancing our portfolio with one of the largest, most geographically diverse and network-balanced TV station groups in the country, the new Gannett will be well positioned to lead innovation, bolster our existing growth initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape," said Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett.
Belo, based in Dallas, owns four stations in Texas and eight in the Southwest. It also has TV stations in Seattle, New Orleans and St. Louis. Gannett has stations in Denver, Washington and Cleveland. Both own stations in Phoenix and St. Louis.