Tribune Co. doubles down on Local TV stations

In one fell swoop, Tribune Broadcasting nearly doubled in size Monday, increasing the number of television stations it owns from 23 to 42.

With the acquisition of Local TV, the Cincinnati-based company once headed by former Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels, Tribune becomes the largest television station owner in the country. The $2.725 billion deal adds 19 stations in 16 markets.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune — it makes us the No. 1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content, and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country,” Peter Liguori, president and CEO of Tribune Co., said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited about Tribune’s future as America’s leader in creating and distributing original content and local news programming.”

It also means a larger national role for Larry Wert, the veteran Chicago television executive who was named president of broadcast media for Tribune Co. last February.

The move comes less than three weeks after Tribune was edged out of acquiring the Belo Corp. chain of 20 television stations, which was bought by Gannett Co. in a $2.2 billion deal.

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