That was fast. Gannett not only completed the $1.5B (not including debt) deal to buy TV station power Belo — it also announced an agreement to sell St. Louis’ KMOV just a week after it agreed to do so to win Justice Department approval for the transaction. Meredith Corp. will pay about $407.5M for KMOV as well as two Belo stations in Phoenix: independent KTVK and CW affiliate KASW. “Meredith is a highly respected multi-media company which shares our commitment to outstanding local journalism, and we are confident that these stations will be in good hands,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore says. She adds that the terms “will significantly lower the effective purchase price for Belo while reducing only minimally the expected synergies associated with the Belo transaction.” The company says that the loss of the three stations will only cut about $2M of the $175M in annual synergies it expects to realize over the next three years. Gannett will continue to wield a lot of clout in the two cities: It owns NBC affiliates KSDK in St. Louis and KPNX in Phoenix. The FCC approved the deal with Belo late last week. Gannett — which was already the No. 1 owner of NBC affiliates — now also is the top independent owner of CBS affiliates, and No. 4 with ABC. Gannett shares are up 3.4% at mid-day while Meredith is +5.2%.
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