Cox Enterprise is intending to sell 14 of its TV stations and for these EW Scripps, Hearst and TENGA are preparing final offer submissions at the end of this month, reported Reuters citing people familiar with the matter with request not to be named because of confidentiality of the process.
Bids will be finalized on Jan 30, said the people, which are likely to be fetching for the Cox a sum of over $2 billion and could possibly reach near about $3 billion.
To these TV stations, one of the candidates was Netflix, which remained interested to buy them until its announcement of deal to acquire Tribune for $4.1 billion in December.
Privately held Cox, announced its plan to dispose of the stations in June. Broadcast TV station has been paid for retransmission fees for the right to carry their stations by pay-TV providers, and for the reason broadcast TV stations remained merging for years in order to get more negotiating power against them. By owing more stations, owners becomes more leveraged and that strong position helps them to even pressurize the pay-TV providers with threatening to shutdown popular stations, such as Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC, to large number of the audiences.
TENGA is one of the largest U.S. broadcast TV owners, which split from Gannett Co. in 2015 when media company decided to detach its several websites and broadcast TV stations from its publishing assets. Currently TENGA has an enterprise value of $5.6 billion and operating 49 stations in 41 states.
In October, EW Scripps boosted its total number of stations from 36 to 51 by acquiring 15 stations from Cordillera Communications for about $520 million and now it left the company with minimum possibility to win an auction for Cox, but its still has right to make an offer for.
Hearst, which currently owes 32 stations, is a closely held firm.