Scripps and Tegna Are Among Bidders for Cox TV Assets

(Bloomberg) -- Cox Enterprises Inc.’s regional television stations have drawn interest from at least a half-dozen bidders including EW Scripps Co., Tegna Inc. and Nexstar Media Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. also submitted first-round offers for the 14 channels, which could fetch more than $2 billion, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Cox management has held presentations with suitors since receiving initial bids at the beginning of the month, they said.

Cox, working with advisers on the sale, will likely reach a deal early next year, the people said. Cox said in July that it is exploring strategic options for the stations, which reach more than 31 million viewers in markets including Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Memphis, Tennessee.

Representatives for Cox, EW Scripps, Tegna, Nexstar, Hearst, Meredith and Sinclair declined to comment.

The stations are part of the Atlanta-based company’s Cox Media Group. It is selling them as it invests in growing other parts of its business, which includes Cox Communications, a large cable TV and internet provider. Cox Enterprises also owns numerous radio stations and newspapers including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dayton Daily News.

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