Gray Television and Raycom Media today announced they are merging as part of a $3.8 billion deal that will create a broadcasting company with 142 full-power television stations.
In a particularly neighborly announcement, the companies touted their complementary station footprints and company cultures. Raycom Media CEO Pat LaPlatney will join Gray as president co-CEO and work alongside Gray CEO Hilton Howell, who will become executive chairman and co-CEO. Both LaPlatney and former Raycom CEO Paul McTeer will join Gray’s board.
The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Should the merger officially close, the resulting combined company would control 142 stations and have nine markets (primarily in the southern U.S.) with overlapping operations.
In the interest of a speedy regulatory approval, Gray already announced plans to divest stations in those overlapping markets which include Knoxville, Tennessee; Toledo, Ohio; Waco, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; Augusta, Georgia; Odessa, Texas; Panama City, Florida; Albany, Georgia; and Dothan, Alabama.
Gray expects to either receive cash or station swaps for the operations it’s divesting.
In all, the combined company’s stations would reach 24% of the U.S. population across 92 markets, making it the third-biggest portfolio of U.S. broadcast television stations.
In addition, Gray will acquire marketing and production firm Raycom Sports, sports and entertainment production company Tupelo Raycom, automotive programming company RTM Productions, and post-production and digital signage business Broadview Media.
For the deal, Gray is shelling out $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in a new series of preferred stock, and 11.5 million shares of Gray common stock.
Gray today also announced that Bob Smith will become its Chief Operating Officer and Nick Waller will become its Chief Administrative Officer. Both Smith and Waller were serving as co-Chief Operating Officers.