E.W. Scripps buys 4 diginets from Katz for $302M

Scripps already held a 5% stake in Katz, and is now outright buying the broadcaster's four networks. (Image: Katz)

E.W. Scripps Company is buying four Katz diginets in a deal worth $302 million. The four national networks—Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff—each reach more than 80% of all U.S. households.

Scripps is outright buying the networks, expanding on the 5% ownership position it already had in the business, which means the net purchase price is $292 million.

Scripps plans to finance the transaction with $250 million of new debt and about $50 million of cash on hand. The transaction is expected to close Oct. 2.

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According to a news release, the four networks are forecast to generate about $180 million in revenue and about $30 million in segment profit in 2018. Scripps said the deal will be accretive to its 2018 earnings and beyond.

Jonathan Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting programming executive and founder of Katz, will continue to run the networks business. The company will retain its 130 employees and will remain based in the Atlanta area.

"Television is changing as over-the-air, cable and OTT all come together into a more seamless viewing experience for consumers," said Adam Symson, chief operating officer for Scripps, in a statement. "With national reach and scale, the Katz networks represent valuable real estate, consistent with our strategy to remain a leader in the evolving TV landscape."

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