Byron Allen seeks to spend $10B on big four affiliates in 2021
'Don’t be surprised if you wake up and find an [owned-and-operated] group being sold,' says Allen
Byron Allen has his eyes set on local tv stations.
The businessman and owner of theGrio is ready to embark on a new TV journey. Allen Media Group, which Byron sits as the CEO, is looking to invest billions into TV station groups in 2021. But it won’t be an easy feat.
“We are looking to deploy more than $10 billion on Big Four affiliates this year,” Allen says in a press release obtained by theGrio. “We are definitely in the hunt on Quincy, Meredith and others.”
He adds, “Don’t be surprised if you wake up and find an [owned-and-operated] group being sold.”
Byron is looking to acquire a TV station group from broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC but the challenge won’t be easy.
The Federal Communications Commission puts a limit on how many TV stations can be owned by one entity. Every four years, media ownership is reviewed to ensure it is within the public’s interest.
According to experts, putting in a bid is worth it. Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA Advisory Services, says the investment is worth it.
“The position of local television stations is still relatively strong,” says Fratrik. “The same thing happened in 2012 and 2014 with strong political advertising. To have only owned Georgia television station in the last two months! That bodes well for local TV stations and thus for groups that are innovative and thinking about the future.”
It is also unclear if one of the owned-and-operated groups even want to sell. During election years, television stations attract big bucks.
“If you are making 35 to 40 cents on every dollar, it’s hard to imagine if you cashed out where you could put $1 billion and get that kind of return,” says the founder of Patrick Communications, Larry Patrick. “That’s why so many of the TV people, big or small, don’t necessarily want to sell.”
Fox reportedly recently saw $2.4 billion in revenue while NBCUniversal saw just over according to $2 billion, per TV News Check.
“That’s why I’m buying TV stations, they’re a great business,” Allen says. “You want to be in both national and local business. It’s good, smart diversification.”
“It’s not easy to get people to sell because it’s a phenomenal business,” he added. “Political money is the new Super Bowl.”
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