E.W. Scripps wraps $302M Katz deal, appoints new CFO

Katz
Founder Jonathan Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting programming executive, will continue to lead the Katz networks business in the Atlanta area. (Katz)

E.W. Scripps has closed its $302 million deal for Katz’s four national diginets—Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff—which together reach 80% of U.S. households.

Scripps already owned 5% of the networks’ business, so the net purchase price is $292 million. The company expects the four networks will generate about $180 million in revenue and about $30 million in segment profit in 2018.

Founder Jonathan Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting programming executive, will continue to lead the Katz networks business. The company, with about 130 employees, will remain based in the Atlanta area.

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Closure of the deal comes roughly two months after it was announced.

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

"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."

With the deal for Katz done, E.W. Scripps is kicking off a search for a new CFO following the departure of Tim Wesolowski. Scripps Chief Strategy Officer Lisa Knutson will serve as CFO in the interim.

“During his first week with Scripps, Tim arranged financing for our acquisition of nine McGraw Hill stations, and since then he has helped lead us through the purchase of Granite TV stations, the country’s first double-spin, double-merge transaction with the former Journal Communications that divested us of newspapers, a $400 million debt offering, and the acquisitions of Newsy, Midroll, Cracked and most recently the four Katz multicast networks,” said Symson. “Tim’s expertise and business acumen have been instrumental in strengthening our company’s financial foundation, and we greatly appreciate his service.”

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