Byron Allen Makes $8.5B Cash Bid For Broadcaster Tegna

Media entrepreneur Byron Allen has made an all-cash bid for Tegna and is said to be one of three potential buyers circling the Tysons, Va.-based broadcaster, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Allen’s Allen Media Group offered $20 a share, or about $8.5 billion, the source said. It is going up against Gray Television, which last week made a offer, also for $20 a share but in a combination of cash and stock.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which recently acquired stations from Cox, also made a bid for $20 a share, said a source familiar with the situation.

Allen’s offer represents a significant premium to the current price of Tegna shares, which have been buffeted like other media stocks (and just about all stocks) by the market’s recent slump. Tegna closed down 8% Wednesday at $16.02. The volatility, due to deepening fears of the coronavirus pandemic, may make an all-cash offer particularly attractive.

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A spokesman for Tegna said, “Tegna’s policy is not to comment on market rumors.”

An Apollo spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Tegna is the name given to Gannett’s broadcast and digital business when it was spun off from the publishing assets. It owns 52 stations in 61 markets, including a preponderance of big-four network affiliates in many of the largest. It covers 39% of the country.

Gray Television appears to have to put the company in play. Reports of Its bid boosted Tegna shares by 30% in one session.

Allen Media currently owns 15 television stations in 11 markets. It acquired most of them last month from USA TV for $305 million and said then that it planned to invest some $10 billion to acquire ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox television stations over the next three years to become of the largest broadcast television groups in America.

The company owns a handful of cable networks, including the Weather Channel, digital news site The Grio, and film and television production under Entertainment Studios.

Allen personally partnered with Sinclair to acquire the Fox Regional Sports Networks from Disney in a deal worth $10.6 billion.

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