Things are really jumping in the American media business this week. Hard on the heels of Rupert Murdoch launching his new all- print News Corp, with $2.6 billion of cash as a parting gift,(acquisitions anyone?) the Tribune company is paying $2.73 billion to acquire all 19 television stations of Local TV.
Tribune will finish up with 42 stations , making it the biggest commercial-TV station owner in the U.S.
Interestingly, Tribune has also been reviewing the sale of some its newspapers , one of which, the Los Angeles Times, Murdoch is known to covet.
Tribune CEO Peter Liguori, explained the TV buy from private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners - the biggest TV station deal since 2000 - to analysts yesterday.
"Our investment thesis is simple: scale matters," he said.
"Clearly, on an industry front, there is an acceleration of consolidation, and that's to be expected. We're a mature business, and mature businesses witness levels of consolidation."
Tribune expects the combination will generate more than $100 million in annual "synergies" within five years, said the Wall Street Journal.
Tribune, owner of a string of newspapers and broadcast stations, emerged from bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012.
The TV deal comes as Tribune has been considering the sale of its newspapers, which including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, with advisers called in to explore their possible sale.
Liguori dismissed suggestions that the television buy distracted the company from deciding what to do about its newspapers . He emphasised that they will not necessarily be sold.
"We are looking at all of our strategic options" when it comes to the newspapers, he said. "But we are spending the greatest amount of focus efficiently running those papers and making sure we are creating great journalism every single day."
The Local TV acquisition requires Federal Communications Commission approval and may run up against FCC rules prohibiting a company from owning a daily newspaper and a top-four-rated television station in the same market.
Will Rupert Murdoch, newly reborn newspaper tycoon, run into the same hurdles if he moves for the LA Times?
A spokesman for the Federal Communcations Commission told the Drum last night, "It all depends on the details of the transaction."
A Tribune spokesman said of their own possible challenges that the company was aware of the issues and intends to work through them.