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KOLR owner to buy Springfield’s Fox affiliate

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Last edited 2:14 p.m., Aug. 3, 2018

A subsidiary of Nexstar Media Group Inc. (Nasdaq: NXST) agreed to purchase KRBK-TV, Springfield’s Fox affiliate.

For an aggregate price of $19.5 million, the local owner of the KOLR and KOZL networks, Nexstar Broadcasting Inc., signed on to buy KRBK from KRBK LLC and Huntsville TV LLC’s WHDF-TV, the CW affiliate serving Huntsville, Alabama, according to a news release. KRBK LLC, according to Missouri secretary of state filings, is owned by St. Louis-based Koplar Communications.

“Nexstar remains opportunistic in expanding our broadcast and digital platform by pursuing strategically and financially compelling growth opportunities that further enhance our overall competitive position and free cash flow,” Nexstar Broadcasting President Tim Busch said in the release. “The acquisitions of KRBK-TV and WHDF-TV will allow Nexstar to generate incremental advertising and net retransmission consent revenue growth without increasing our total U.S. television household reach.”

Nexstar Broadcasting previously operated the local Fox affiliate, but in 2011, Koplar Communication’s KRBK took over following increases in programming fees, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Nexstar officials could not be reached by deadline on the purchase price for just KRBK. Reached via email, Koplar Communications’ Ted Koplar declined to disclose the sale price for KRBK.

“I can tell you as a Missourian, that we will miss Springfield. It's a fantastic city,” he said.

Nexstar’s transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending approvals by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory bodies.

Nexstar, according to the release, owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 171 TV stations, as well as their related multicast signals. It has a reach of 100 markets, or roughly 39 percent of all U.S. TV households, according to the release.

According to the FCC, a company can own as many TV stations as it wants so long as viewership does not cross above 39 percent of U.S. TV households.

If Nexstar’s purchase of KRBK is approved, three companies would own Springfield’s TV stations. Currently, Gray Television Inc. owns KY3, KSPR and The Ozarks CW, Nexstar owns KOLR and KOZL, Koplar Communications owns KRBK, Missouri State University runs Ozarks Public Television and Craft Broadcasting LLC operates KRFT.

NXST shares were trading at $73.40 as of 10:10 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $56.65 to $89.75.

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