Atlanta — Cox Enterprises Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement with funds (the “Apollo Funds”) managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo”) (NYSE: APO) to buy a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations, including the company’s radio, newspaper and TV properties in Ohio. Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake and will join the Apollo Funds in forming a new company to operate these stations, which will be headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
Cox Media Group’s high-performing TV stations serve some of the most desirable markets in the country and reach a combined 31 million viewers nationwide. With a deep focus on investigative journalism, these TV stations are leading local news and information outlets, and cornerstones of the communities they serve. The stations, which represent Cox Media Group’s entire television portfolio, are:
- WSB-TV, ABC Atlanta, Ga.
- WFTV-TV, ABC Orlando, Fla.
- WRDQ-TV, Independent Orlando, Fla.
- WSOC-TV, ABC Charlotte, N.C.
- WAXN-TV, Independent Charlotte, N.C.
- WPXI-TV, NBC Pittsburgh, Pa.
- WHIO-TV, CBS Dayton, Ohio
- KIRO-TV, CBS Seattle, Wash.
- WHBQ-TV FOX, Memphis, Tenn.
- WFOX-TV, FOX Jacksonville, Fla.
- WFXT-TV, FOX Boston, Mass.
- KOKI-TV, FOX Tulsa, Okla.
- KMYT-TV, My Network Tulsa Okla.
Cox Media Group also provides programming, sales and other operations services for WJAX-TV, CBS Jacksonville, Fla.
In addition to WHIO-TV, the Apollo Funds will acquire a majority stake in Cox Media Group’s other media platforms in Ohio:
- Dayton Daily News
- WZLR, 95.3 FM and 101.1 FM
- Springfield News-Sun
- WHKO, 99.1 FM
- WHIO, 95.7 FM and 1290 AM
Cox Enterprises began exploring strategic alternatives for the stations last July with the goal of finding a motivated strategic partner with a shared vision for the future and the resources to continue investing in the business to build scale. Apollo intends to maintain the successful management and operating structure Cox Media Group’s TV business has created.
“These stations have decades of experience breaking barriers and delivering the news and information their communities need daily,” said Alex Taylor, president and CEO, Cox Enterprises. “We wanted to find a company that is committed to investing in broadcast television now and in the future, and we found that in Apollo.”
“We are extremely excited for our funds to acquire a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations and are humbled by Cox Enterprises’ decision to entrust us to steward these stations and carry on the Cox legacy. We have an extraordinary amount of respect and admiration for the journalistic integrity, news quality, and commitment to community across Cox Media Group’s broadcast stations,” said David Sambur, Senior Partner at Apollo. “We look forward, in collaboration with Cox Enterprises, to supporting the high standards to which each station operates and contributing to the platform’s future growth and prosperity.”
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory review and closing conditions.
Barclays PLC, Moelis & Company LLC and BDT & Company, LLC served as the financial advisors and Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Covington & Burling LLP served as the legal advisors to Cox Enterprises in this transaction.
RBC Capital Markets LLC, Guggenheim Partners LLC, and LionTree Advisors, LLC served as the financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Greenberg Traurig, LLP served as the legal advisors to the Apollo Funds in this transaction.