Amid Sinclair-Tribune megadeal, some smaller broadcasters are still in ‘acquisition mode’

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Sinclair’s blockbuster $3.9 billion deal for Tribune Media stole all the broadcast industry thunder this week, but that didn’t stop Morgan Murphy Media (MMM) from completing a TV acquisition of its own.

MMM announced a deal with Saga Communications to buy KOAM-TV (CBS) in the Joplin, Missouri/Pittsburg, Kansas market; and KAVU-TV (ABC), KMOL-TV (NBC), KXTS-TV (CBS), KUNU-TV (Univision) and KVTX-TV (Telemundo) in the Victoria, Texas market.

MMM also announced a partnership with SagamoreHill Broadcasting, in which SagamoreHill will acquire KFJX-TV (FOX) in Pittsburg, Kansas and KVCT-TV (FOX) Victoria, Texas, and MMM will operate the stations. The companies did not disclose financial terms. The deals are expected to close in the third quarter.

“These stations are the perfect fit with our company because of their strong foundation of market leadership and community service,” said Elizabeth Murphy Burns, president and CEO of Morgan Murphy Media, in a statement.

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While MMM’s deal doesn’t have the same size and scope as Sinclair’s, Brian Burns, vice president and COO of MMM, says it’s not necessary for smaller broadcasters to try to take on industry giants.

“We know we’re never going to be able to compete with Nexstar or Sinclair but we don’t have to. As long as we continue to invest and serve our communities, we’ll have a voice,” Burns said.

Burns said that mass consolidation does make it more difficult for smaller stations to expand but he said that MMM, a family-owned company that was debt-free before its most recent deal, is still in “acquisition mode.”

Broadcast groups like Gray Television and Meredith have been busy snapping up smaller stations. But Burns described it as those smaller stations making a choice to exit the business, whereas some smaller broadcasters are making a choice to work harder and find more communities to serve at the local level. And Burns said that MMM may not be finished looking for more M&A opportunities.

“It would be foolish to say that we’re done,” Burns said.