EW Scripps, US local TV company, has acquired ION Media, the country’s largest broadcaster for $2.65bn, with the backing of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway which has invested $600m to help fund the deal.
EW Scripps expects the deal to be earnings positive and to generate some $500m incost savings over six years.
The privately-owned ION Media reaches viewers in 100m US homes, or 85% of the population, through its 71 stations – including 24 of the top 25 markets. Its flagship, ION Television, is a top 5 entertainment network. It also owns two digital networks: Qubo, featuring premium children’s programming, and ION Plus, featuring hit dramas and original series.
The company started as Pax TV in the !990s and was rebranded as ION Media in 2007. The company mostly broadcasts syndicated content and does not have a news division.
The Ohio-based, $1.4bn-revenue EW Scripps began life as a local newspaper company in the 19th century, morphed into TV through the 20th century and IPOd in 1988. In 2008, the company split into separate news publishing and TV stations, and TV production companies.
Scripps is the second largest operator of US TV stations affiliated to ABC. It once owned special interest cable networks such as the Food Network and HGTV, which are now part of Discovery Communications.