By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
QUINCY — The Quincy Media Inc. board of directors has announced shareholder approval of a $925 million cash purchase offer for the company’s television and radio properties — including WGEM AM-FM-TV — from Gray Television Inc., a public media company headquartered in Atlanta.
The sale, which is subject to federal regulatory approvals, is expected to close later this year, a release issued Monday morning said.
The sale includes all of the company’s television and radio properties, which serve 16 markets, but does not include The Herald-Whig or Hannibal Courier-Post newspapers, which are being sold separately.
“This was a difficult decision for our Board of Directors and shareholders,” said Quincy Media President and CEO Ralph M. Oakley, who also is a board member. “We have always put community service first and have served our viewers, listeners and readers with the best in news and public service. We have also taken a leadership role in trying to improve the economic development and quality of life in the places where we operate and, particularly, here in our hometown of Quincy.”
Upon closing the transaction, Gray will own television stations serving 102 television markets that collectively reach 25.4% of U.S. television households. To facilitate prompt regulatory approvals, Gray will divest QMI stations in Tucson, Ariz.; Madison, Wis.; Harrisburg, Ill./Paducah, Ky./Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis.; and Wausau-Stevens Point, Wis. Gray already owns full-power television stations in those markets.
“Quincy’s market leading television stations will become part of a similarly operated company with No. 1 television stations in 70 of its 102 markets,” Oakley said in the release. “While the sale of QMI closes a chapter, it opens up a wonderful new one. Gray is a great company and has the same philosophy on serving the communities that we have had.”
Quincy Newspapers Inc. — renamed Quincy Media Inc. in 2016 — began operation in 1926, with the merger of the Quincy Herald and Quincy Whig-Journal. It brought together the Oakley and Lindsay families, both of whom began in the media business more than 100 years ago. The two families own the majority of QMI, and several family members are in ownership, serve on the company’s board or are employed by the company.