Gray will buy Meredith’s local TV stations

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Gray Television has announced it will pay $2.7 billion in cash for Meredith’s local TV stations.

The plan is for Meredith to spin off its National Media Group that includes magazines (such as “People” and “Better Homes & Gardens” and digital properties and let its existing shareholders retain those.

Meanwhile, the local TV broadcasting assets will be combined with Gray, which already owns or operates around 140 stations, will become the second largest TV station owner in the U.S.

Meredith owns 15 stations.

In the Flint, Michigan, market, Gray will divest in WJRT, the ABC affiliate in the market, in favor of keeping CBS affiliate WNEM.

Gray recently sold off seven stations to Allen Media just last week. Meanwhile, Meredith’s strategy of spinning off its print and publishing assets into a separate company follows a years-long trend of using that strategy. Gray also bought Quincy Media stations in February for just under $1 million.

The move will make the new venture, call a bit short of Nexstar Media Group, which owns and operates about near 200 stations.

It’s not immediately clear if Gray will change its name — but a combined name such as Meredith Gray could prove interesting because it would share one of the longest running character’s names on “Grey’s Anatomy” (albeit with a different spelling).