Gannett (GCI) to buy TV station owner Belo (BLC) for $1.5 billion

Company to nearly double number of TV stations

McLEAN, Va. - Gannett said Thursday it has reached a deal to buy TV station owner Belo for about $1.5 billion in cash.

Under the agreement, the newspaper and TV station owner will buy Belo, based in Dallas, for $13.75 per share.

That represents a 28 percent premium over Belo's Wednesday closing price.

Gannett also will assume $715 million in debt.

The acquisition will make Gannett, based in McLean, Va., one of the country's largest owners of major network affiliates. It nearly doubles Gannett's portfolio from 23 to 43 stations.

Gannett owns The Indianapolis Star. Belo's closest station to Indianapolis is WHAS-TV in Louisville.

Gannett expects the deal to boost its adjusted earnings by 50 cents per share within the first 12 months.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013. Gannett said it would make the company the largest group of CBS affiliates.

In premarket trading, Belo Corp.'s shares jumped 26 percent. Gannett Co.'s stock rose 12 percent.

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