Media General, Inc. and LIN Media shareholders gave the thumbs up to their pending $1.6 billion merger in separately held meetings Monday.
Media General and LIN announced their deal in March. After certain divestitures, the combined company will own or operate 71 TV stations in 48 markets across the country, reaching 27.6 million or 24% of U.S. television households. The deal still needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
After the closing, expected early next year, the combined company will keep the Media General name and will be led by LIN Media CEO Vincent Sandusky. Media General chairman J. Stewart Bryan III will continue to serve in that role. Additional board members will include Diana F. Cantor, Royal W. Carson III, H.C. Charles Diao, Dennis J. FitzSimons, Soohyung Kim, Douglas W. McCormick, John R. Muse, Wyndham Robertson and Thomas J. Sullivan. Four of the directors were designated from LIN Media and seven from Media General.
“Today’s votes were an important milestone that brings us one step closer to finalizing the merger,” Bryan said in a statement. “We are pleased by the support of our shareholders, which confirms our confidence in the significant value that this business combination will create for our investors.”
The LIN deal was one of several in the broadcast space over the past several months. Some analysts have speculated that the deal could help spark a second wave of consolidation in the sector, as smaller station groups look to bulk up to compete.
“This announcement is an important step on the critical path to ensuring the company is prepared to hit the ground running once we receive the necessary regulatory approvals,” Sandusky said in a statement. “After the merger is complete, we will have one of the strongest leadership teams in the industry. Their expertise and dedication gives me even more confidence that we will deliver on our promise to build a stronger, more efficient company that will compete effectively in the rapidly evolving media landscape.”