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E.W. Scripps to acquire Katz broadcast networks

E.W. Scripps Co. agreed to acquire the Katz broadcast networks, which distribute programming for targeted audiences over the air, in a deal worth $302 million.

E.W. Scripps already owned 5% in a portion of the business, so the net purchase price of the deal is $292 million, according to an Aug. 1 news release. The four national networks included in the deal are Bounce TV (US), Grit, Escape and Laff. Katz founder Jonathan Katz will continue to lead the Katz networks business, which, along with about 130 employees, will remain based in Atlanta. Each of the four networks reach more than 80% of all U.S. households, the company said.

The deal will be treated as a purchase of assets for tax purposes. The purchase multiple for the deal, including the present value of the future tax benefit, is about 8x, based on the company's forecast for 2018 segment profit.

E.W. Scripps plans to finance the deal with $250 million of new debt and about $50 million of cash on hand. Upon completion, E.W. Scripps' leverage is expected to be about 3x on a pro forma 2017/2018 blended basis.

The four networks are expected to generate about $180 million in revenue and about $30 million in segment profit in 2018. The deal is expected to be accretive to the company's earnings in 2018 and beyond.

The deal is expected to close Oct. 2, subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance and customary closing conditions.