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BakerHostetler Serves as Legal Counsel to The E.W. Scripps Company on the Proposed $2.65 Billion Berkshire-Backed Acquisition of ION Media

News / September 24, 2020

Under the leadership of Partners Steven H. Goldberg and Robert F. Morwood, along with General Counsel Bill Appleton, BakerHostetler served as legal counsel to The E.W. Scripps Company in the proposed $2.65 billion acquisition of ION Media and a related proposed $600 million equity investment by Berkshire Hathaway.

Goldberg, co-leader of the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions team, and Morwood led the BakerHostetler team in representing longtime client Scripps in the proposed purchase of ION Media, a national broadcast network. The proposed acquisition, announced on Sept. 24, 2020, would combine ION with Scripps’ Katz networks and Newsy to create a full-scale national television networks business.

ION, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., reaches more than 100 million homes through over-the-air and pay TV platforms. It will be purchased from an entity controlled by Black Diamond Capital Management. Berkshire Hathaway will make a proposed $600 million preferred equity investment in Scripps to finance the transaction along with a warrant to purchase up to 23.1 million Class A shares, at an exercise price of $13 per share.

The BakerHostetler deal team also included Partners Ryan D. Gorsche, John J. Harrington, Kenneth C. Howard, John R. Lehrer, Raymond M. Malone, Margaret Rosenthal; Of Counsel Judy Gechman; and Associates Matthew D. Gases, Jennifer R. Rodriguez and Erica Svoboda.

The deal marks another successful stage in the relationship between Scripps and BakerHostetler, which has led to five awards in seven years from The M&A Advisor. Recent high-profile deals represented by the firm include Scripps’ proposed sale of the podcasting company Stitcher this year to Sirius XM Holdings Inc. for $325 million, Scripps’ acquisition of eight TV stations from Nexstar Media Group for $580 million, in 2019, Scripps' acquisition of 15 stations from Cordillera Communications for $521 million, in 2019, and the acquisition of the Katz broadcast for $302 million, in 2017.

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