NewsChannel 5 sold to Milwaukee company

Market-leading station fetches more than $200M

Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee said this morning that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy WTVF NewsChannel 5 Network from Landmark Media Enterprises for $215 million in cash plus a working capital adjustment at closing.

“This station will be a cornerstone asset within Journal Communications,” said Steven Smith, chairman and CEO of Journal, which is not related to the Brentwood-based custom publisher of the same name. “WTVF TV is an exceptional local news station with an extraordinary staff that demonstrates its commitment to Nashville every single day.”

Federal regulators will need to approve the deal. Frank Batten Jr., chairman and CEO of Landmark, said, “We are extremely proud of what our News Channel 5 team has achieved. We are pleased that, in Journal, we have a buyer with a great culture and excellent opportunities for our employees to grow.”

Landmark had put the NewsChannel 5 Network, which includes WTVF, NewsChannel 5+, a This TV affiliate and, on the block in 2008. A $200 million deal signed that summer with a New York company fell through as a result of the financial crisis. WTVF is the ratings and revenue market share leader in Middle Tennessee and one of the top three CBS affiliates in the nation based on CBS ratings in metered markets.

Methuselah Advisors acted as financial advisor to Journal. Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. acted as financial advisor to Landmark.

Journal, which also owns the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, about a dozen TV stations and more than 30 radio stations, posted first-half operating profits of $19.2 million on revenues of $178 million.