Broadcast M&A totals almost a half-billion in 2015 _08.01.2016

After a busy year, broadcast station mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume reached $486.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

According to SNL Kagan, that total is low compared to the more than $3 billion of the previous quarter, but it is still more than the deal volume of the first half of the year.

There were no billion-dollar deals in the fourth quarter, and only one transaction of more than $100 million. But, with 37 transactions of $1 million or more, Q4 delivered a similarly solid number of million-dollar deals as the previous quarter (38 deals over $1 million).

The TV market ended the year with an average 8.4x forward seller's multiple (0.1 point higher than at the end of Q3). The radio cash flow (CF) multiple remained unchanged at 6.7x. The top TV deal and the only hundred-million-dollar deal of the quarter was Nexstar Broadcasting's $130 million (8.4x CF) acquisition of the CBS outlets in the West Virginia markets of Charleston-Huntington, Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill and Wheeling, as well as the NBC affiliate in Clarksburg, from West Virginia Media Holdings.

In a twist to the usual spectrum aggregator model, LocusPoint Networks sold three of its stations — WMJF-CD in Baltimore, W33BY in Detroit and WBNF-CD in Buffalo, New York — to HME Equity Fund II LLC for $23.75 million. LocusPoint and its backers Blackstone Group had acquired the stations in 2012-2014 for a total of $4.83 million, and may have wanted to earn a return on some of the capital invested to date, and/or concentrate on a smaller number of high-demand markets.