Tegna said Monday that it has agreed to purchase the remaining interests in multicast networks Justice and Quest it does not already own for $77 million in cash from Cooper Media.
The deal values the networks at about $91 million. Tegna had previously owned about 15% of the channels. Cooper Media parent Cooper Holdings held the rest. Justice was launched in 2015 and focuses on true crime, mystery and investigation programming. Quest was launched last year and concentrates on science, history, engineering and adventure-reality series.
“Consumer viewing habits are shifting toward over-the-air consumption supplemented by inexpensive over-the-top services,” Tegna CEO Dave Lougee said in a press release. “Justice and Quest allow us to fully capitalize on the growth in over-the-air television audiences, which has increased by more than 48% over the past eight years.”
Tegna said it will finance the deal, expected to close in the second quarter, with available cash and borrowings from its existing credit facility. In addition, Cooper Media president and general manager Brian Weiss will join Tegna and will continue to run Atlanta-based Justice and Quest.
“It has been an honor to work with Tegna to build Justice Network and Quest from the ground up, while informing and entertaining the growing over-the-air audience,” Cooper Holdings chairman Lonnie Cooper in a press release. “The timing is right for Cooper Holdings to focus on its core agency businesses, while cheering on the networks’ continued success as part of the Tegna family.”
Nixon Peabody LLP is acting as legal counsel to Tegna in connection with the proposed deal.