Entertainment Studios, one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television, with 64 shows on the air, and owner of nine 24-hour HD television networks now serving nearly 160 million subscribers — including The Weather Channel television network and its streaming service Local Now — proudly announces it has reached an agreement to acquire 11 broadcast television stations from USA Television Holdings LLC and USA Television MidAmerica Holdings LLC (collectively, USA TV) for $290 million. Byron Allen’s Allen Media Broadcasting division is acquiring the following broadcast television stations:
City of License
Huntsville – Decatur – Florence, AL
ABC – ION
Ft. Wayne, IN
KEZI KEZI-D2 KEZI-D3
ABC – ION – METV
KNVN* KNVN-DT2* KHSL KHSL-D2
NBC – TELEMUNDO – CBS – CW – ION
Columbus-Tupelo-West Point, MS
WTVA WLOV* WTVA-D2
NBC – FOX – ABC
Medford-Klamath Falls, OR
ABC – ANTENNA TV
Rochester, MN – Mason City, IA – Austin, MN
KIMT KIMT-D2 KIMT-D3
CBS – MYTV – ION
Terre Haute, IN
WTHI WTHI-D2 WTHI-D3
CBS – FOX – MYTV – CW
WLFI WLFI-D2 WLFI-D3
CBS – CW – ION
*Operated through joint sales and services agreement
The USA TV portfolio acquisition follows a number of recent transformative transactions executed by Byron Allen. In August 2019, Mr. Allen partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) from Walt Disney/FOX Corporation for $10.6 billion. In July 2019, Byron Allen acquired Bayou City Broadcasting, which included 4 television stations in Evansville, IN (WEVV/CBS & WEEV/FOX) and Lafayette, LA (KLAF/NBC & KADN/FOX) for $165 million. In March 2018, Mr. Allen acquired The Weather Channel, one of the most trusted news networks that has served Americans for nearly four decades. After investing $455 million in broadcast television station acquisitions over the past three months, the addition of the USA TV portfolio grows the Allen Media Broadcasting group to 15 television stations across 11 U.S. markets, and allows Allen Media Group to reach an even broader audience, while strategically positioning the company across broadcast television, cable networks, and digital media platforms.
“I have known Byron Allen for decades and we are delighted that these stations will now be part of his dynamic company, and that Heartland management will continue to guide them,” said USA Television CEO Robert S. Prather, Jr. “These stations are dedicated to their local communities and this transaction will enable them to become even stronger on both their broadcast and digital platforms.”
“Bob Prather is an excellent broadcaster and he has done a brilliant job of assembling a stellar management team to operate these very strong network affiliate broadcast stations,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Entertainment Studios/Allen Media LLC. “This is another milestone for our company, as we have now agreed to purchase our second broadcast network affiliate station group within the past three months, and continue to aggressively look for other opportunities to grow our global media company through strategic acquisitions.”
Allen’s continued expansion into broadcast television is the latest step the company has taken in further extending the global reach of its programming and content. The Entertainment Studios divisions now include: broadcast television network affiliates, streaming services, broadcast television syndication, production and distribution of 64 television programs, nine 24/7 HD television networks, theatrical motion picture production, acquisition and global distribution, digital movie acquisition and distribution, and global news publishing – making Allen Media Group one of the largest privately-held media companies in the world. Byron Allen started the company from his dining room table 26 years ago.
RBC Capital Markets acted as sole financial advisor to Allen Media Group. Latham & Watkins LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP acted as legal advisors to Allen Media Group. Moelis & Company, LLC was the exclusive financial advisor to USA TV and Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP provided legal services in connection with the transaction.
About Entertainment Studios / Allen Media
Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh. Entertainment Studios owns 15 U.S. broadcast television stations and nine 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 160 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV. Entertainment Studios also owns the LOCAL NOW streaming service, powered by THE WEATHER CHANNEL and content partners, which delivers real-time, hyper-local news, weather, traffic, sports, and lifestyle information. Entertainment Studios also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 64 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners.
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company specializing in wide release commercial content. ESMP released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN, which grossed over $44.3 million. In 2018, ESMP also released the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILES, the historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK and the sequel to 47 METERS DOWN, 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED. Upcoming releases include the animated feature ARCTIC DOGS starring Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, Alec Baldwin, and Anjelica Huston, and ALL RISE (based on the Walter Dean Myers critically-acclaimed novel “Monster”) starring Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Oscar®-Winner Jennifer Hudson, Golden Globe®-Winner Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, A$AP Rocky, Nas, Tim Blake Nelson, and Golden Globe®-Nominee John David Washington.
In 2016, Entertainment Studios purchased TheGrio, a digital video-centric news community platform devoted to providing African-Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles and opinion pieces on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business and entertainment. Originally launched in 2009, the platform was then purchased by NBC News in 2010. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 20 million annual visitors.
About USA Television Holdings / USA Television MidAmerica Holdings / Heartland Media
Heartland Media, LLC is an American media company that owns and operates television stations in smaller markets in the United States. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia. It manages the television broadcasting stations owned by USA Television Holdings LLC, and USA Television MidAmerica Holdings, LLC which are portfolio companies of MSouth Equity Partners. The companies are run by Bob Prather, a former President and COO of Gray Television, who focuses on acquiring No. 1-rated stations, that are Big Four affiliates with strong local news operations that target university towns and state capitals that are deeply ingrained in the fabric of their communities.
SOURCE Entertainment Studios, Inc.