Nexstar Explores Options as Another TV Station Group Goes on the Auction Block

"There are many stations up for sale," Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker says, pointing to three other TV companies that are looking for acquirers.

NEW YORK - TV station operator Nexstar Broadcasting Group said Thursday that  its board has decided to explore strategic alternatives, including a sale, marking the start of a renewed search for a possible deal.

The company, which operates or provides services to 65 stations, had hired Goldman Sachs in May 2007 to explore its alternatives, but ended that process amid the credit crisis. The firm, which says it reaches about 13.5 million viewers or 11.6 percent of all U.S. TV households, this time retained Moelis & Co. as its financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis as its legal counsel.
The move makes Nexstar the latest TV station group to come up for sale.

"There are many stations up for sale," Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said in a report on Thursday. "Four station groups are known to be on the block: Nexstar, McGraw Hill, Freedom and Young Broadcasting. While there is significant supply we believe potential bidders will include both strategic and private equity groups - both of which we believe are looking hard at these assets."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nexstar could fetch more than $1 billion in a sale. "Today's news is a positive for the broadcast TV space as it provides multiple support given the reported possible $1 billion-plus sale price," Ryvicker said.
Nexstar said in a statement on Thursday that it has not made a decision to pursue any specific strategic transaction or other option. "There is no set timetable for the process, so there can be no assurance that the exploration of strategic alternatives will result in a sale of the company or any other transaction," it said.