Scripps Buys Broadcast Network ION Media for $2.65 Billion

The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that it will buy ION Media in a deal for $2.65 billion. The deal will combine Scripps’ Katz networks and Newsy “to create a full-scale national television networks business.”

ION Media operates a national television network which makes up the fifth largest average prime time audience for cable. The network owns stations in 62 markets with 124 affiliated TV stations, reaching 96% of homes in the US. Scripps says the new national network business will reach “nearly every American” with a combination of free OTA broadcasts, cable, and OTT digital distribution.

“For more than 70 years, Scripps has been dedicated to local broadcasting and the markets we serve with an unparalleled commitment to quality objective journalism, community service and stewardship of the public’s airwaves,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “Now, with this national broadcasting acquisition, Scripps will be the largest holder of broadcast spectrum, poised to take an even greater leadership role in the development of future business models that leverage ATSC 3.0 and spectrum to benefit the American people.”

The purchase will require FCC approval and the company anticipates a closing date in the first quarter of 2021.