Nine Entertainment to take over Fairfax media in estimated A$4BN deal

Nine EntertainmentAustralia’s Nine Entertainment is to take over Fairfax Media, for an estimated A$4 billion. The television network will take a controlling 51.1% stake in the newly merged company, which will be renamed NEC, or Nine Entertainment Company. Nine will acquire all of Fairfax’s shares and take a controlling 51.1% share in the new business, which will be called NEC. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Fairfax shareholders will receive 0.3627 Nine shares for each Fairfax share held and $0.025 cash. It represents a 21.9% premium to Fairfax’s closing share price of 77c on 25 July 2018.

Hugh Marks of Nine will be the new chief executive and Peter Costello, the Nine chairman, will now lead the board of the new business.

Costello said, “Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years. The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff, and all Australians in the years ahead.”

Marks added, “The ground-breaking merger – harnessing the strength, assets, quality and reach of two of the country’s most famous industry brands – is another highly significant step in the evolution of Nine’s business into one of the most powerful media organisations in the country. The scope of this deal is genuinely quite breathtaking. In addition to our existing television and digital businesses, the new NEC will also become the proprietor of the iconic Fairfax mastheads as well as the new majority owner of Domain (60%) and the Macquarie Radio Network (54.5%)“.

Fairfax Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said, “The proposed transaction for Fairfax reflects the success of Fairfax’s transformation strategy which has created value for shareholders through targeted investment in high growth businesses, such as Domain and Stan, and prudent management of our media assets. The combination with Nine provides an exciting opportunity to continue to drive incremental value well into the future. We are confident that the strength of the combined management team and staff will ensure the continuation of our quality journalism.”

Australia, Sydney

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Update: Department of Justice approves Disney bid for Fox

walt disney companyThe Department of Justice has approved the Walt Disney Company’s $71 billion bid for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox. The government’s approval was filed in federal court on the condition that Disney, which already owns ESPN, divest all of Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which include valuable channels like the Yankees’ YES network.

“Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution,” Makan Delrahim, the head the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a statement.

USA, Burbank, CA & New York, NY

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Disney increases its bid for Fox to $71.3BN

walt disney companyThe Walt Disney Company has upped its bid to acquire 21st Century Fox by 35 % to $71.3 billion, following a rival bid from the Comcast Corporation last week for $65bn (£48.6bn) in cash.

Disney has also moved from of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men film studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares.

USA, Burbank, CA & New York, NY

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Kew Media Group to acquire Essential Quail Media Group

Kew Media GroupKew Media Group Inc. has agreed to acquire Essential Quail Media Group for an initial purchase price of AUD$32.8 million (C$31.9 million based on the current CAD/AUD FX rate of approximately 0.972), comprised of AUD$20.0 million (C$19.4 million) in cash and AUD$12.8 million (C$12.4 million) in Class B shares of KEW valued at C$10.00 per share.

EQ Media combines several entities with aggregate pro forma revenue of over AUD$60 million (C$58 million). The initial purchase price represents a transaction multiple of approximately 3.2x EQ Media’s estimated Adjusted EBITDA of AUD$10.2 million (C$9.9 million) for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. The cash portion of the initial purchase price will be funded through cash on hand and KEW’s credit facilities. The vendors may receive additional consideration in the future, conditional upon EQ Media meeting certain financial targets and other tests, which are described below.

EQ Media is a leading independent producer of high quality content for international audiences operating from offices in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth in the U.S. and Sydney, Australia. EQ Media produces content in a variety of genres, particularly non-scripted television series, for broadcast customers worldwide. Buyers of EQ Media’s programming include DIY, HGTV, Cooking Channel, Animal Planet, ABC Australia, SBS, Foxtel Networks 7, 9 & 10, BBC, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery, Sundance, History Channel, Arte, Netflix and Fox Network. EQ Media also has a longstanding relationship with Scripps Networks (now part of Discovery Inc.), producing more than a dozen full series orders and pilots together.

Steven Silver, KEW Founder & CEO, said, “EQ Media is an exciting addition to the KEW group and the transaction purchase price is an attractive valuation for such a prominent content producer. We expect the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings and to free cash flow. In addition, we expect to generate meaningful synergies from the sale of additional EQ Media content through KEW’s global distribution platform.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, Los Angeles, CA

Sinclair Broadcast Group to sell TV stations as part of Tribune acquisition

SinclairSinclair Broadcast Group Inc is selling 23 television stations to several companies after completing its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.

The sales are to obtain the necessary governmental approval of the Tribune transaction, the company said, as it has worked for months to win regulatory approval for the deal.

Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair, said, “After a very robust divestiture process, with strong interest from many parties, we have achieved healthy multiples on the stations we are divesting. While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step forward in our plan to create a leading broadcast platform with local focus and national reach. The combined company will continue to advance industry technology, including the Next Generation Broadcast Platform, and to benefit from significant revenue and expense synergies”.

Standard Media Group, an affiliate of Standard General L.P., will acquire the following nine television stations in seven markets for $441.7 million in cash:

KOKH-TV, Oklahoma City, OK (affiliated to FOX)
WXMI, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI (affiliated to FOX)
WPMT, Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA (affiliated to FOX)
WXLV-TV, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC (affiliated to ABC)
WRLH-TV, Richmond-Petersburg, VA (affiliated to FOX)
WOLF-TV (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to FOX)
WSWB (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to CW)
WQMY (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to MY)
KDSM-TV, Des Moines-Ames, IA (affiliated to FOX)
(1) Sinclair is not the licensee of these stations and will only be selling the assets of such stations that Sinclair owns, together with its right to purchase the licenses of the stations.

Meredith Corp will acquire CW-affiliated KPLR-11 in St. Louis for $65 million. Additionally, three stations are going to Howard Stirk and two are going to shared services agreement partner Cunningham Media. The buyer for the remaining seven stations is yet to be named.

USA, Hunt Valley, MD & Washington, WA & St Louis, MO & Baltimore, MD

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DLT Entertainment acquires Vera Productions

DLT EntertainmentIndependent production and distribution company DLT Entertainment has acquired production company Vera Productions. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Through the deal Vera will continue to operate as a separate company under the DLT banner but will be wholly owned by DLT Entertainment. DLT will acquire Vera’s portfolio of extensive programming, approximately 300 hours in the catalogue, with series currently represented by a number of distributors.

Vera launched in 1994, and has since produced an extensive portfolio of award-winning shows including Bremner Bird and Fortune, three series of Getting On starring Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, and Joanna Scanlan for BBC Four, four series of Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression for BBC One, six series of Mark Thomas Product and numerous Dispatches for Channel 4, including the recent President Trump’s Dirty Secrets, Politicians for Hire and How to Buy A Football Club. In addition, Vera has produced several pieces for Channel 4 News and created Big Trouble in Thailand for Bravo, and most recently produced Million Pound Jewellers for Channel 4 Arts and three episodes of Going Forward starring Jo Brand and Omid Djalili for BBC Four.

Donald Taffner Jr., President of DLT Entertainment, said, “We have had a long regard for the shows that Vera has produced […]. DLT are not in the production company aggregation business for growth and this acquisition does not signal a change in that philosophy, but welcomes Vera to the DLT family where we will provide business and financial support while Vera Productions will continue as the production entity for its programmes. It is a very exciting time.”

UK, London

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. acquires The Weather Channel

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television with nearly 160 million aggregate subscribers across the US, has acquired The Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel television network and Local Now streaming service. Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, purchased the Weather Group through his company, Allen Media LLC, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and Comcast/NBC Universal.

The Weather Channel is one of the largest cable television networks not owned by a major conglomerate and is the nation’s only 24-hour source of national storm coverage. Harris Poll has ranked The Weather Channel as the “TV News Brand of the Year” for eight years in a row. The network recently launched a community platform, weloveweather.tv, to create a two-way dialogue with fans.

Allen said, “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & Atlanta, GA

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