Gray Television is buying ABC affiliates WTVG Toledo, Ohio and WJRT Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich. from SJL Holdings for approximately $128 million in cash, the publicly traded station group announced this morning.
According to Gray, the stations lead their local markets in all-day ratings and in most, if not all, local newscasts.
“We are very excited to add two more outstanding, community-focused television stations and their growing, dynamic markets to the Gray portfolio,” said Gray CEO Hilton Howell in a prepared statement.
“Under SJL’s stewardship, these stations have grown their news operations, ratings, revenue, and income at very impressive levels. With Gray’s backing and the strong teams already in place in Flint and Toledo, WJRT-TV and WTVG-TV will enhance their leading local positions even further.”
The deal is another big score for George Lilly, who owns SJL Holdings. He bought the stations from ABC in 2010 for $30 million after having sold them to ABC for $120 million in 1995.
According to Gray, the purchase price represents a multiple of approximately seven times a blended average of 2012-2013 pro forma broadcast cash flow of the stations including expected synergies.
As such, Gray’s acquisitions will be immediately free cash flow accretive, the station group said.
Gray expects to finance the transaction with new term loans, cash on hand and/or by accessing the capital markets.
Gray said it plans to add a subchannel with a CW affiliation to WTVG.