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Big TV Deal Drove U.S. Deal Market in Q1

In radio, the sale of Cherry Creek to Townsquare was tops

The first quarter of 2022 was a big one for broadcast station sales in the United States. They reached their highest volume by dollar amount in almost three years. 

Most of it was due to one very large TV transaction.

The TV and radio deal market in the first three months of the year reached $11.05 billion, according to data from Kagan, the media research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company said this was only the eighth quarter in which volume exceeded $10 billion over the past 40 years.

“Standard General LP in partnership with Apollo Global Inc., which owns a majority stake in Cox Media Group Inc., announced a $24-per-share deal on Feb. 22 that would take private TEGNA Inc., the third-largest TV station owner by revenue and one of the few remaining publicly traded groups,” the company noted in a recap.

“We estimate the value of TEGNA’s 64 full-power and three low-power TV stations at approximately $8.71 billion, making it the second-largest transaction in broadcast deal history, topped only by the 1999 Viacom/CBS merger, for which we estimated the value of the TV stations at $8.75 billion.”

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The largest radio deal in Q1 was the acquisition of Cherry Creek Media LLC by Townsquare Media Inc., announced in March. 

Though puny compared to the TV deals, that $18.8 million transaction is still the largest radio transaction since 2019.

Kagan noted that Townsquare will spin off six stations and place two in a divestiture trust.

“Cherry Creek’s stations are located in six different states, mostly in nonrated areas,” the company noted. “All the other large radio deals of the quarter focused on one or two markets or states.”

The second largest radio station deals was the sale of two Florida FM stations from CXR Radio LLC, a divestiture trust for Cox Radio, to Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. for $12.5 million. And third was the largest single-station radio sale of the quarter, the $8 million transfer of San Francisco’s KSJO-FM from Universal Media Access-KSJO-FM LLC to Silicon Valley Asian Media Group LLC.