As expected, FOX 13 has been sold — twice.
After its parent company was acquired by the Nexstar Media Group, KSTU-Channel 13 and seven other stations were sold to the E.W. Scripps Co. for a total of $580 million to comply with FCC regulations.
KSTU vice president and general manager Tim Ermish said his station “is excited to join one of the most prestigious broadcasters with a long history of excellence in independent journalism.”
After a failed attempt by Sinclair Broadcasting (the parent company of KUTV-Channel 2) to acquire the Tribune Media (the parent company of FOX 13), Nexstar (the parent company of KTVX-Channel 4) announced a $4.1 billion deal to take over Tribune. However, in order to comply with FCC rules prohibiting ownership of multiple stations in the same TV market under certain circumstances, Nexstar agreed to sell 21 stations in 16 markets.
(Tribune Media is not in any way affiliated with The Salt Lake Tribune.)
Nexstar already owns two Salt Lake stations, KTVX-Channel 4 and KUCW-Ch. 30. The FCC prohibits one company from owning two of the top four stations in a market, so Nexstar could not keep KTVX and add FOX 13.
In addition to the Scripps deal, Nexstar sold another 11 stations to Tegna for $740 million; it is still looking for a buyer for two stations in Indianapolis.
With the acquisition of FOX 13 and seven other stations in New York, Phoenix, Miami–Fort Lauderdale, Norfolk, Va., Richmond, Va., and Grand Rapids, Mich., Scripps expands to 59 stations in 42 markets that, combined, reach nearly 30 percent of American TV viewers. Scripps paid $75 million for WPIX in New York City, and $505 million for the other seven stations, including FOX 13.
"This acquisition represents another step in our plan to improve the depth, reach and durability of our broadcast television station portfolio while adding nicely to the company's free cash flow generation," said Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson in a prepared statement.
Scripps recently purchased stations in Florida and Texas, and is awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission to buy 15 more stations from Cordillera Communications.
Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is a content partner with FOX 13.