McLEAN, Va. (NEWS CENTER) -- Gannett, Co., Inc., the parent company of WCSH 6 and WLBZ 2, is entering into a merger agreement with Belo Corp., owner of 21 television stations across the USA. The merger will increase Gannett's portfolio of television stations to 43.

Under the agreement, Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus the assumption of $715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion.

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1 percent premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.

The merger will make Gannett the USA's fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates reaching nearly a third of all U.S. households. Already the number one independent owner of NBC affiliated stations, Gannett will also become the number one independent owner of CBS stations. After the deal, the company will be the fourth-largest owner of ABC affiliated stations.

Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett, said, "We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership. We have been successfully transforming Gannett into a diversified multi-media company with broadcast, digital and publishing components across high-growth markets nationwide, and this is another important step in the process."

Belo's President and Chief Executive Officer, Dunia A. Shivesaid, "This is an outstanding and financially compelling transaction for our shareholders. It is also a testament to the tremendous value our employees have created over Belo's long history and to the strength of our brand in the media industry. I am confident that we have found an excellent partner in Gannett - they are a leading media company that shares our commitment to the highest levels of journalistic integrity and embraces an active approach to community involvement."

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013, subject to antitrust approval, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, approval by holders of two-thirds of the voting power of Belo shares, and customary closing conditions.

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