May 31, 2016 04:31 PM

Minority-owned TV group out of Texas picks up local stations in Nexstar divestiture.

Texas-based Bayou City Broadcasting has agreed to pay Nexstar Broadcasting Group $40 million for Lafayette TV stations KADN, a FOX affiliate, and KLAF, an NBC affiliate. The agreed-upon price appears to reflect the multi-million-dollar investment that was just poured into the Lafayette television group to launch KLAF’s local news programming. In preparation for the debut of the NBC affiliate's April 1 news product, which included the addition of more than two dozen reporters and production personnel, Nexstar renovated the KLAF/KADN broadcast studio and offices at 1500 Eraste Landry Road.

The divestiture is directly related to Nexstar’s efforts to seek regulatory approval for its planned purchase of Media General, which owns Lafayette’s KLFY, a CBS affiliate. In January, Nexstar, based in Irving, Texas, agreed to buy Media General, based in Richmond, Va., for $4.6 billion after Meredith Corp. walked away from the September 2015 agreement to be purchased by Media General for $2.4 billion. Meredith Corp., which got a $60 million breakup fee, is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. All three media companies are publicly traded.

Media General’s ownership of KLFY complicates the transaction with Nexstar locally. Because the Lafayette market is too small for single ownership of two high-powered stations (KLFY and KADN), KLAF is the only station involved in the deal that can be legally acquired, as FCC rules allow for the common ownership of full-power and low-power stations in the same market, regardless of the number of stations in that market.

Nexstar, which faced similar obstacles in other markets, confirmed on May 27 that it plans to sell five TV stations in four markets to comply with the FCC local and national television ownership rules and to obtain FCC and Department of Justice approval of its Media General purchase.

In its May 27 press release, Nexstar says the divestitures are required to meet the 39 percent U.S. television household national ownership cap. Two of the three proposed transactions — ­ including the Lafayette deal ­— involve minority-owned television groups. The two Lafayette stations are being purchased by Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette, a minority-led broadcaster owned by affiliates of Bain Capital Credit and Bayou City Broadcasting based in The Woodlands, Texas. Bayou City Broadcasting is owned by DuJuan McCoy, who serves as president and chief executive officer of the television group.

The sale of KADN and KLAF to Bayou City is subject to the closing of the Nexstar/Media General transaction, which is expected later this year.

Tom Poehler, vice president and general manager of the two local stations, tells ABiz he is not authorized to comment about the pending purchase at this time.

Poehler led both KLAF’s transition to NBC affiliation from MyNetworkTV in mid-2015 and the recent introduction of news programming. He is a former executive with Comcorp, the now-defunct media group that announced in 2013 it was selling its remaining TV stations to Nexstar. That deal was finalized in early 2015.

It had been four decades since Lafayette operated an NBC affiliate when KLAF made the switch last year. At the time the network’s programming was segmented with three different signals from outside of our market: KPLC out of Lake Charles, KLAF sister station WVLA out of Baton Rouge and Alexandria’s KALB. KLAF is now the only NBC station serving the local market. Cox dropped KPLC and WVLA, and LUS pulled the plug on KPLC. Additionally, KLAF replaced WVLA on Dish and DirecTV.

Find KLAF on Cox Channel 3 and 1003 and LUS Fiber Channel 7 and 1007.

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