Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Dealmaker's Predictions: A Robust 2017 For TV Deals

Can we just end 2016 today?

That's a refrain many media brokers may be saying. 

"This was mostly portfolio tweaking," says George Reed, a media broker with Media Services Group based out of the Jacksonville, Fla., office. "Inventory is, and has been, limited."

But the next 12 months look good, says Reed and another broker who shared their thoughts on 2017 with RBR + TVBR. 

Read the full article here (login required). 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Guest Blogger Stephan Sloan: Contest Rules

Few tournaments have rules for those no longer competing. The Incentive Auction does in the form of 47 C.F.R. § 1.2205(c), the Prohibited Communications Rule. For more than 800 stations not needed in Stage 1 the price of entering the tournament is the continuing burden of the Prohibited Communications Rule. Station owners interested in exploring the sale of their station are presently challenged to provide information to prospective buyers concerned that they will be thought to be communicating elements of their bidding strategy or outcome inthe auction. Buyers are dubious of the effort or resources they should expend to pursue a station which could be frozen in the auction. 

I have been pleased to support efforts to identify stations that should be waived from this rule as they no longer represent meaningful data for rational models of auction outcomes in the current and later Stages. I remain hopeful that recognition of the public good for the purposes of community service and repack as well as the negligible value to the remaining competitors will guide the FCC to a relaxation or limitation of the Prohibited Communications Rule. 

For those wishing to pursue the purchase of a station that elected to participate in the Incentive Auction I can offer data on the probability of a station being frozen. Good modeling provides buyers a rational understanding of the probability a station was frozen in the Incentive Auction and on that basis, decide if they should pursue it or not. Buyers can make their own assessment without input from the station owner, honoring the Prohibited Communications Rule.

We are clearly past halftime in the Incentive Auction tournament. Like in the final quarter of a game, I think the highest stakes calls are being made now in Stage 4. Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz encouraged his players; “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game.” I hope I can assist some of you or your clients with successful answers to these challenges.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Guest Blogger Stephan Sloan: Tournament Television

The Incentive Auction is looking more like a tournament than an auction to me.

In the early stages of the Incentive Auction the perception of winning this tournament, that is receiving more value for your television license than it was otherwise worth, was probable for many stations. Licensees who were allowed to participate piled in to the contest and expected a victory. This behavior can be seen as the success of the opening bid prices and the distribution accomplished by the FCC and the Greenhill Report.

Like in tournaments, participants’ assessment of victory evolves as time elapses. The huge spread between the Stage 1 Clearing Target and Net Auction Proceeds was a strong indication to competitors that multiple stage progressions would be likely to close that gap. Many models pointed towards Stage 4 as the first opportunity for validation.

For a participant, anticipation of a Stage 4 result yields a radically different expectation of winning both in terms of probability and magnitude. It can be modeled that 270+ fewer stations are frozen by Stage 4 and the amounts paid to the winning licensees is reduced by more than 70%. The tournament by Stage 4 is a different contest. Without confidence, the Incentive Auction of Stage 4 does not create hope for winning but raises the question what does loosing look like?

I believe that as the stages have progressed many television station owners have turned away from further assessment of their reserve price (a metric for winning) and have focused instead on post Incentive Auction plans. To illustrate this point, Stage 1 results promised each of two or more duopoly owners in a market a winning scenario of each of them freezing one station in the auction and receiving a generous sum of money, participation in the tournament is rational. After the auction, each of the duopoly owners could be winners and the competitive landscape in the market would remain as each duopoly would likely now be represented by a single station (and a large bag of cash).

Stage 4 likely presents asymmetric results where all of the stations offered by the duopoly operators would not be needed. Outcomes include some duopolies remaining intact while another may freeze a station. Is a definition of winning being the only duopoly to freeze and facing post Incentive Auction competition with half the bandwidth of the competition (and a smaller bag of cash)? Pricing this scenario is complicated as well where reserve prices become relative to the competition rather than a function of enterprise value.

How do you like the tournament so far?

Stephan Sloan
Director, Media Services Group

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alpha Media Sells Two Virginia Radio Stations to Educational Media Foundation (Press Release)

Educational Media Foundation (EMF) has entered into an agreement to acquire WLFV-FM in Midlothian, VA and WARV-FM in Petersburg, VA, serving Richmond, VA from Alpha Media.
The purchase price is $2,000,000.*
George Reed of Media Services Group represented the Seller in this transaction.

Friday, December 2, 2016

'Let's Make A Deal in 2017,' Radio Ink Special Broker Report

They work the phones and their contacts every day, looking for deals, proposing transactions, hooking sellers up with buyers. Brokers who deal in radio have all the inside information on who has the capital, who wants to sell, and what the real multiples are.

According to SNL Kagan, through he first three quarters of 2016, the radio deal volume was about $418 million, with the Beasley purchase of Greater Media deal being the largest ($159 million) - and that's low. Read the full article here.