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E.W. Scripps Co. is nearing a deal to buy ION Media for $2.65 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move to significantly expand the TV station owner’s reach that gained the backing of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Berkshire plans to make a $600 million preferred-equity investment in Scripps to help finance the purchase of closely held ION, the people said. Berkshire will also get a warrant to purchase as many as 23.1 million Class A Scripps shares at $13 apiece. Scripps stock closed Wednesday at $10.47.
It will transform Cincinnati-based Scripps, which has a market value of about $850 million. The company, which has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years, operates 60 local television stations and has networks including Court TV, Bounce and the multiplatform news provider Newsy. The deal would roughly double the company’s television station footprint and supercharge distribution of its programming.
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