Broadcast station merger and acquisition volume reached $8.77 billion in 2014, excluding construction permits and partial deals, but including $1.3 billion worth of station swaps. That’s according to SNL Kagan, which says the largest of the swaps was a TV deal involving four stations between 21st Century Fox Inc. and Cox Enterprises Inc. estimated to be worth $859 million.
The top radio deal of the year was a 19-station swap between CBS Corp. and Beasley Broadcast Group, worth an estimated $300 million.
The transaction market did not repeat 2013’s record-breaking $12.4 billion, but still registered the second-highest annual number since 2007, according to SNL Kagan. The 2014 total exceeds the deal volumes of the years 2009 through 2012 combined.
The decline compared to the previous year is mainly due to a slower pace of TV consolidation. TV deal volume reached a total of $7.26 billion, which was only 64% of the previous year’s total.
Radio deal volume on the other hand rose 48% from $1.02 billion in 2013 to $1.51 in 2014. In total, 258 AM and 501 FM stations were sold, vs. 219 AM and 419 FM stations in 2013. The average price for an FM station rose from $2 million in 2013 to $2.5 million in 2014; average prices for AM stations rose slightly from $0.76 million to $0.86 million.
Seventy percent of all radio stations sold were located in markets smaller than #75 or in unrated regions. This area has become the most active part of a still vibrant broadcast deal market, says SNL Kagan.