Nexstar Media Group’s subsidiary, Nexstar Media Inc., has acquired political media outlet The Hill in a $ 130 million deal, the company said on Friday.
The Hill will join Irving’s Nexstar network of 199 local television stations in 116 U.S. markets that reach 39% of U.S. households. The company also recently acquired Tribune Publishing’s product review site BestReviews for $ 160 million. In 2020, he launched a prime-time nightly news show on WGN America called Nation News which reaches 75 million American homes.
Nexstar said it intends to leverage its omnichannel approach to content distribution to expand The Hill’s reach and revenue.
“Taken together, Nexstar and The hill are used by a third of all US digital users. Additionally, with over 100 journalists covering current affairs and political events and providing a rich variety of engaging content to its users, we believe there are enormous synergies to be achieved between The hill, our national cable news network, NewsNation, and our local news operations, ”Nexstar CEO Perry Sook and executives Tom Carter and Karen Brophy said in an email to staff Friday afternoon.
The Hill owner and chairman James Finkelstein emailed staff on Friday saying the transaction was approved “with mixed feelings,” according to a screenshot shared on The Hill’s Twitter account.
“First of all, I realize with a heavy heart that it is time for me to move on to new businesses. These will be known in the next few months, ”Finkelstein wrote.
Finkelstein described The Hill’s struggles to survive over the years and its pride in becoming a “digital juggernaut” and “respected, loved and even feared by the most powerful in the land”.
Finkelstein has reportedly sought a buyer for The Hill in recent years, according to Axes, who also reported that the media’s revenue has reached all-time highs in the past year.
The Hill has grown into one of the most widely read digital media outlets covering government and politics in the United States. Nexstar’s digital division operates 120 local websites and 284 mobile apps that deliver hyper-local news content.
Nexstar President and COO Tom Carter said the acquisition of The Hill reflects the company’s “content first” strategy. Carter touts NewsNation and The Hill are “two of the most centrist of major news organizations in the United States, citing January 2021 Ad Fontes media bias table who ranks The Hill as more progressive than The Wall Street Journal and more conservative than CBS and news services like the Associated Press and Reuters.
Earlier this year, Nexstar saw a number of staff departures from its new national news program NewsNation over concerns that coverage would be pushed in a more conservative direction by management, according to Variety. A year after its launch, NewsNation has struggled to find its place in cable ratings.
Politics is big money for Nexstar, which posted record revenues in 2020 thanks to political advertising spending in the company’s local media.
Nexstar was profitable and posted positive cash flow in the first six months of 2021. Sook, the chief executive of the company, was the second highest paid CEO among publicly traded companies in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2020.