Gannett Co., the owner of USA TODAY and other newspaper and television properties, including KSDK-TV, across the USA and United Kingdom, announced Thursday that it is entering into a definitive merger agreement with Belo Corp., catapulting Gannett into the nation's fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates reaching nearly a third of U.S. households.
Belo owns and operates 20 TV stations -nine in the top 25 markets - and their associated websites.
The acquisition nearly doubles Gannett's current broadcast portfolio from 23 to 43 stations, including stations to be serviced by Gannett through shared services or similar sharing arrangements.
Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus assume $715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1% premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.
President and Chief Executive Officer Gracia Martore of Gannett, said, "We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership."
Belo's President and Chief Executive Officer Dunia Shive said, "This is an outstanding and financially compelling transaction for our shareholders. It is also a testament to the tremendous value our employees have created over Belo's long history and to the strength of our brand in the media industry."
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Gannett engages more than 100 million people every month through its network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties. In addition to USA TODAY, Gannett owns regional newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
Shares (GCI) in Gannett closed down 1.59% on Wednesday but have soared to $19.85 from $12.50 in July as the company has aggressively pursued efforts to diversity its business model.
Gannett earned $104.6 million, or 44 cents per share, in the January-March period. That was up from $68.2 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 1.6% to $1.24 billion from $1.22 billion.
Missing Franklin County children 13-year-old Erica Linsey and 11-year-old Scotty Warner have been found unhurt.
The two friends were last seen at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday playing outside near White Road south of St. Clair.
Sheriff Gary Toelke says the area where the kids went missing in a very remote location close to the Meramec River. Just before 10:00am Thursday, Warner was found and led searchers to his 13-year-old neighbor. Erica Linsey was found hiding under porch. Searchers are trying to coax her out. Reportedly, she had fought with her sister the night before.
Earlier, Sheriff Gary Toelke told KTRS News there was no reason to believe the two were runaways. There was concern about the safety of the area due to mine shafts, caves, and the Meramec river.
Initially, Toelke says there were initial indications the two used a cell phone to access the Internet just before midnight from the area where they were reported missing.
Fire has destroyed the LivRite Fitness Center in the 1000 block of Carlyle. Firefighters remain at the scene (6:45am).
The building is considered a complete loss. Fire crews are still dealing with a hot spot. Smoke can be seen coming through a portion of the roof. The fire call came in just after 11:00pm Wednesday night. When firefighters arrived, flames were already threw the roof. The business was closed. No one was hurt.
Fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. But officials say a janitor has reported hearing popping sounds shortly before the fire broke out, so an electrical fire is suspected. No one was injured in that blaze.