Tegna to go private in $5.4 billion deal with Apollo

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Tegna has announced a deal to merge with Standard General.

The deal includes 66 stations in 54 markets and is valued at around $5.4 billion with financing coming from an affiliate of Apollo Capital Management. The new company will retain the Tegna name.

Deborah A. McDermott will continue to lead the new company, which will be taken private. McDermott previously led Media General and Young Broadcasting as well as founding the small station group Standard Media that operates under Standard General.

Tegna was formed in 2015 when Gannett spun off its broadcasting assets into a separate division from its print publications, a common trend at the time.

Technically, the broadcasting arm, which took on the name Tegna, was the “old” Gannett, while the “new” Gannett become dedicated to publishing.

Standard General is not to be confused with Media General, a former station ownership group, that was sold to Nexstar in 2017.

Texas Tegna stations in Houston, Dallas and Austin will be sold to Cox Media Group, giving those stations a connection to Apollo, which owns the majority of CMG.

Standard General holds a majority stake in Bally’s Corporation, which, in turn, licenses the name Bally Sports to Diamond Sports Group, a joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios, though Bally’s has no direct involvement in the day-to-day broadcast operations.

Diamond Sports operates a collection of regional sports networks formerly owned by 21st Century Fox. After Disney acquired most of 21st Century Fox’s assets in 2019, it sold off the Fox Sports branded RSNs due to its ownership of sports media giant ESPN.