by Steven Hale
Colleagues at the Nashville Post report Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee has agreed to buy WTVF NewsChannel 5 for $215 million in straight cash (homey).
“This station will be a cornerstone asset within Journal Communications,” said Steven Smith, chairman and CEO of Journal, which is not related to the Brentwood-based custom publisher of the same name. “WTVF TV is an exceptional local news station with an extraordinary staff that demonstrates its commitment to Nashville every single day.”
Federal regulators will need to approve the deal. Frank Batten Jr., chairman and CEO of Landmark, said, “We are extremely proud of what our News Channel 5 team has achieved. We are pleased that, in Journal, we have a buyer with a great culture and excellent opportunities for our employees to grow.”
Landmark had put the NewsChannel 5 Network, which includes WTVF, NewsChannel 5+, a This TV affiliate and NewsChannel5.com, on the block in 2008. A $200 million deal signed that summer with a New York company fell through as a result of the financial crisis. WTVF is the ratings and revenue market share leader in Middle Tennessee and one of the top three CBS affiliates in the nation based on CBS ratings in metered markets.
As of this writing, the WSMV Demon had not commented on the sale of the Channel 4 competitor.
Update: The Demon has claimed credit for the sale.