(USA TODAY) -- Gannett, owner of WTSP 10 News as well as USA TODAY, has agreed to sell a TV station in St.
Louis, clearing the way for completion of its $2.2 billion purchase of
media company Belo, the Justice Department said Monday.
already owns KSDK-TV, an NBC affiliate in St. Louis. Texas-based Belo
owns 20 TV stations, including KMOV-TV, a CBS affiliate in St. Louis.
KMOV-TV was one of six stations Gannett had planned to transfer to
Sander Media, an Arizona-based third-party operator designed to acquire
stations in markets where Belo and Gannett markets overlap.
Gannett agreed to sell KMOV-TV to a Justice Department-approved buyer.
KSDK-TV and Belo's KMOV-TV compete head-to-head in the sale of
broadcast television spot advertising in the St. Louis area, and this
rivalry constrains advertising rates," Bill Baer, who heads the
department's antitrust division, said in a statement. Divestiture "will
ensure that KMOV-TV will remain a vigorous competitor in St. Louis."
of KMOV-TV is expected to take place in 2014, Gannett said. The
agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department Antitrust
Division. The sale remains subject to Federal Communications Commission
approval, but Gannett said the settlement should allow completion of the
deal by month's end.
Gannett, based in McLean, Va., owns 23 TV
stations and 82 newspapers, including USA TODAY. The Belo acquisition
will extend Gannett's television reach to nearly a third of U.S.
Gannett stock rose almost 2% Monday, closing at $26.66.
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