Meredith Explores Sale of Local Television Stations

Meredith Corp. is considering selling its television stations, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would focus the media conglomerate on its magazine division.

Meredith is working with a financial adviser on the potential divestiture, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No final decision has been made and Meredith could opt against a sale.

A representative for Meredith declined to comment.

The move could help Meredith with its goal of paying down debt, which the company has said is its top priority. It had about $3 billion of long-term debt at year-end, according to filings.

The M&A market has been ripe for local television properties, which generate a lot of cash and operate in a highly fragmented industry. Apollo Global Management Inc. sought to buy Tegna Inc. last year but ended talks as the coronavirus pandemic upended the markets.

A sale would also leave Meredith to focus on its national media arm, which generates most of its revenue and publishes popular magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and People.

Meredith’s television arm consists of 17 stations, including affiliates of Fox and CBS, in markets such as Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon, according to its most recent annual report. The division contributed just 27% of its revenue in its most recent fiscal year.

Meredith rose 1% to close at $30.09 in New York on Thursday, giving the company a market value of about $1.4 billion.

Dealreporter reported in January that Meredith had solicited bids last year for a package of stations that could lead to a deal for its entire portfolio.

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