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Scripps Adds Triton Digital to Portfolio

But chief exec says TV is still the priority

The E.W. Scripps Company announced plans to acquire digital audio measurement company Triton Digital for $150 million.

Some may rise eyebrows at the move, since Scripps recently sold off its 29 radio stations, but in a press release, Scripps President/CEO Adam Symson explained, “acquiring Triton complements our strategy of owning growth businesses that capitalize on the evolving habits of media consumers and furthers our commitment to margin expansion.”

Specifically, he said, “Triton positions Scripps well to expand its role in the fast-growing global digital audio marketplace” because of its “efficient business model, multiple growing revenue streams, competitive advantages and expanding international footprint.”

According to the release, the purchase will be funded through cash on hand.

Triton’s financials appear sound; its 2018 projected revenue is $40 million, give or take, and next year’s is expected to exceed it, according to the announcement. The release also cites Statista’s estimate that the “global digital audio marketplace” will grow to $14.8 billion in 2022, thanks to smartphones, connected cars and smart speakers.

Nonetheless, Symson said the “acquisition of additional television stations remains [Scripps’] No. 1 M&A priority.”

Under the new ownership, Triton co-founder and CEO Neal Schore will continue to head the company. He previously served as chairman of Westwood One and has worked in media for a quarter-century.

Moelis & Company served as financial advisor to Triton for the transaction, which is expected to close before 2019.

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