TEGNA Inc. has completed its acquisition of Dispatch Broadcast Group’s stations in Indianapolis and Columbus. TEGNA paid $535 million in cash for NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis, CBS affiliate WBNS in Columbus, and WBNS radio (1460 AM and 97.1 FM), sports radio in Central Ohio. The deal helps TEGNA expand its portfolio of Big Four affiliates in top markets.
The transaction was structured as a stock purchase, with a purchase price multiple of 7.9 times expected average 2018-2019 EBITDA, including run rate synergies. TEGNA expects the transaction to be EPS accretive within a year and immediately accretive to free cash flow per share.
TEGNA financed this transaction through the use of available cash and borrowing under its existing credit facility. Leverage is expected to increase to approximately 4.9 times, inclusive of the previously announced acquisition of the Nexstar-Tribune divestiture stations.
Substantially all of TEGNA’s free cash flow will be used to reduce debt, reducing total leverage to approximately 4.1 times by the end of 2020. As previously announced, share repurchases will remain suspended throughout 2020 to focus on reducing debt.