Why Shares of LIN Media LLC and Media General Shot Up

Is this meaningful or just another movement?

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:55PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of LIN Media LLC (NYSE:LIN) and Media General (NYSE:MEG) surged today, climbing as much as 32% and 13%, respectively, after the two television companies agreed to merge in a $2.6 billion deal.

So what: LIN shareholders will receive a combination of cash and stock worth $27.82 a share, a 29% premium to Thursday's closing price, and the new company will keep the Media General name. LIN shareholders will own 36% of the new company, while Media General shareholders will hold the remaining 64%. LIN CEO Vincent Sandusky will become the new company's CEO, and the two companies said the new deal would yield $70 million in annual cost-saving synergies within three years.  

Now what: The deal is just the latest consolidation move we've seen in the television industry, as 2013 featured a number of acquisitions and mergers that sent industry stocks soaring. Peers Gray Television and Nexstar Communications jumped earlier in the day, both up more than 10% as investors may be hoping for more deals. Earlier this week, TV stocks fell after Wells Fargo downgraded the broadcasters on a heightened regulatory environment, and the companies acknowledged that the merger will force divestitures in some markets, which investors should keep an eye out for. Shares of Media General cooled off after the morning spike, as the deal, with its buyout of LIN, primarily benefits those shareholders.

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