WTVR television station in Richmond would get a new owner under a deal for Nexstar Media Group Inc. to sell 19 stations for $1.32 billion as part of its buyout agreement with Tribune Media Co.

The CBS affiliate plus WTKR in Norfolk and six other stations, now owned by Chicago-based Tribune Media, would be sold to E.W. Scripps Co. for $580 million.

Eleven stations would be sold to Tegna Inc. for $740 million. 

Nexstar is selling the television stations to comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s duopoly ownership rule and to comply with regulatory ownership limits so that its deal announced in December could proceed. Nexstar agreed to buy Tribune Media for about $4.1 billion, creating the largest owner of local-TV stations in the U.S.

Irving, Texas-based Nexstar has a portfolio of 174 stations, including WRIC in Richmond.  Tribune Media owns and operates 42 local stations, including WTVR in Richmond.

One of the Richmond stations would have to be divested in order for the deal to gain approval from federal regulators. 

The planned divestiture of the 19 stations is subject to FCC approval, other regulatory approvals and the closing of the Nexstar-Tribune Media transaction. The sales of the 19 stations is expected to be completed around the same time of the closing of the Nexstar-Tribune Media transaction, which the company said is expected later this year.

Tribune Media has owned WTVR and WTKR since December 2013, buying the stations from Local TV Holdings LLC. 

In November 2013, WRIC was acquired by then Richmond-based Media General Inc. when it combined with Nashville, Tenn.-based New Young Broadcasting Holding Co. Inc.

Nexstar acquired Media General in a stock and cash deal valued at $4.6 billion in January 2017, giving it ownership of WRIC.

The sale of WTVR would mark the second major deal among local broadcast-station owners in recent months.

Raycom Media Inc., the employee-owned company that owned WWBT in Richmond,  was acquired in January by Atlanta-based Gray Television Inc. for $3.65 billion, creating the nation’s third-largest television broadcast group.

ggilligan@timesdispatch.com

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