Hubbard Pays $505M to Buy 17 Radio Stations

The acquisition will substantially grow the St. Paul-based company's portfolio-increasing the number of radio stations in its holdings from four to 21-and expand its geographic footprint to four new key markets.

Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., said Wednesday that it has agreed to pay $505 million to buy 17 radio stations from Bonneville International Corporation.

The acquisition will expand Hubbard's national footprint and substantially increase its portfolio of radio stations. St. Paul-based Hubbard now operates four radio stations and 12 television stations in Minnesota, New York, and New Mexico.

Hubbard said that the radio stations being acquired add four “strategic markets” to its holdings-Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. The acquisition will also greatly increase Hubbard's employee base-adding 547 workers to its current roster of 154. The company does not anticipate any programming or personnel changes for any of the stations in its portfolio following the transaction.

Hubbard didn't indicate precisely when the deal will close but said that it is pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission and subject to other customary closing conditions.

Hubbard will create a new subsidiary-Hubbard Radio, LLC-after the deal is completed. Hubbard executive Virginia “Ginny” Morris will become chairwoman of the newly created entity, and Bruce Reese, president and CEO of Salt Lake City-based Bonneville, will assume the same titles for the new entity. Reese joined Bonneville nearly 27 years ago and has served in his current roles since 1996.

“We have long admired the good work, reputation, and leadership of Bonneville International and its management team and feel honored to welcome these great stations into the Hubbard family of companies,” Morris said in a statement. “With the proliferation of media in this Internet age, local and free over-the-air radio remains a mainstay in the lives of virtually all Americans. This combination of radio assets and brands represents the best of the best in the industry.”

Hubbard, founded in 1923, is a family-owned and family-operated business that's one of the last independent broadcasting companies in the United States. In addition to radio and television stations, its portfolio also includes satellite and cable networks ReelzChannel and Ovation TV, F&F Productions, and the Hubbard Radio Network-which is used to distribute KSTP's local AM talk shows to radio stations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Bonneville, meanwhile, owns and operates 31 radio stations in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Phoenix, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City markets, and the NBC affiliate television station in Salt Lake City. It is owned by Salt Lake City-based Deseret Management Corporation, a for-profit arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.