“As originally structured, this transaction would have given Nexstar the power to impose higher prices on local and national advertisers and to demand higher retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies in six markets,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse said. “Today’s settlement will protect advertisers, [pay TV distributors] and consumers – who ultimately would have borne many of these increased costs – by ensuring that Nexstar does not obtain undue bargaining leverage when negotiating broadcast television spot advertising prices and retransmission fees.”
Officials filed a civil antitrust suit to block the deal but accompanied that with the settlement agreement with Nexstar that must be approved by the U.S. District Court in D.C.
The sales include: WBAY-TV Green Bay,WI, to Gray Television Inc.; WSLS-TV Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA, to Graham Holdings Company, KADN-TV and KLAF-LD Lafayette, LA, to Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette Inc.; WTHI-TV Terre Haute, IN, to USA Television MidAmerica Holdings Inc.; WFFT-TV Fort Wayne, IN, to USA Television; and KWQC-TV Quad Cities, IA, to Gray Television.
Without the station sales, Nexstar would control 41% to 100% of the broadcast TV gross ad revenues in the markets with at least two affiliates from one of the Big Four networks.
Nexstar currently owns or operates stations in 62 markets, while Media General is in 48.