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FCC Okays Scripps-Journal Merger

Approval conditioned on divestitures

The FCC has approved the merger of Journal Communications, Inc. and The E.W. Scripps Co. The deal was unopposed.

Journal and Scripps plan to merge their broadcast operations and then spin-off and combine their newspaper group. The end result would be two separately-traded public companies, which they believe will net about $35 million in “synergies” for their shareholders. The deal was expected to close in 2015.

The deal the FCC approved late Friday was conditioned upon spinning off TV stations in two markets and getting a waiver of the television ownership limits under the “failing station” exception.

Scripps doesn’t have radio properties now, but would gain Journal’s radio assets in eight markets. Journal owns close to 40 radio stations, (31 FM, 6 AM) and 12 TV stations. Scripps owns 16 TV stations. The Scripps entity would keep its name and become a merged broadcast and digital media company with radio and TV stations in 27 markets.

The new Scripps will be based in Cincinnati, with about 4,000 employees, and is expected to generate annual revenue of roughly $800 million.

The newly-formed newspaper entity Journal Media Group will be based in Milwaukee and operate in 14 markets. The company will have about 2,600 employees and is expected to generate some $500 million in annual revenue.