Nexstar offers about $1.9B for Media General

Nexstar Broadcasting, attempting to drive a wedge between Media General and Meredith Corp., offered nearly $1.9 billion to buy Media General on Monday. Media General Inc. earlier this month made a $2.4 billion offer for Meredith, which owns television stations and publishes about 20 magazines. The deal, according to Media General, would create a company with almost 90 television stations in 54 markets and magazines including Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living.

Nexstar on Monday bid a combination of cash and stock valued at $14.50 for each Media General share, a 30 percent premium to Media General’s closing price Friday.

The Irving, Texas, company values the deal at $4.1 billion including debt. Nexstar owns, operates, programs or provides services to 107 television stations in 58 markets. It said a tie-up with Media General would reach 39 percent of U.S. TV households and create the second-largest owner of major network affiliates.

Media General, based in Richmond, Virginia, said Monday that it is reviewing the Nexstar proposal.

Nexstar has for several months attempted to open negotiations with Media General, according to a letter from Nexstar Chairman and CEO Perry Sook. He said the company strongly believes that a combined company would be strategically and financially compelling.

Sook called the Media General bid for Meredith “illogical” and said in his letter to the company that Nexstar’s offer was superior in all respects.

“Your shareholders should be aware of the compelling value represented by our proposal, which would be lost if the Meredith-Media General transaction is consummated,” he wrote.

Shares of Media General soared more than 22 percent, or $2.49 to close Monday at $13.64. Shares of Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. dropped $1.01 to $43.51 and Meredith fell 5.6 percent, or $2.58, to $43.43. The S&P 500 index dropped 2.6 percent.

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