The Dayton media empire created by James M. Cox was sold to an international investment firm.
Apollo Global Management acquires WHIO-TV, WHIO-AM, WHKO-FM, rocker WZLR-FM, Dayton Daily News, Butler County News-Journal and Springfield Sun, as well as 13 other television channels from Boston to Seattle.
The future Ohio governor, James M. Cox, originally from Jacksonburg, Ohio, west of Middletown, bought the Dayton Evening News in 1898, then the Springfield Press-Republic in 1905 and the Constitution from Atlanta in 1950. He founded WHIO-AM in 1935 and added WSB-TV from Atlanta in 1948, according to the online history of Cox Media Group. Television, newspapers, radio and digital were grouped together in Atlanta-based Cox Media Group in 2009.
The Atlanta Constitution-Journal announced the deal Friday. The Atlanta newspaper will continue to be owned by Cox, a private broadband, automotive and media company based in Georgia.
Last summer, Cox announced that it would "explore the strategic options" of its television channels in Dayton, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Jacksonville and Tulsa. The inclusion of radio and print properties in Ohio "was not expected," says Talkers magazine, a publication specializing in the radio industry and a website.
Cox will also retain a minority stake in Cox's television division, three Ohio radio stations and Ohio newspapers, the report said. The company will sell WSB-TV in Atlanta, but will retain WSB-AM "and several other Atlanta radio and media properties in other markets," the newspaper said.
"We wanted to find a company committed to investing in broadcast television now and in the future, and we found it in Apollo," said Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, to his newspaper in Atlanta.
The conditions of sale have not been published. The international investment firm, which managed about $ 280 billion in assets at the end of last year, deals with private equity, real estate and credit. It has subsidiaries in the fields of chemistry, retail, financial services, hospitality and media, the newspaper said.
This will be the first time that Apollo will become the owner of local television stations. The Atlanta newspaper announced that Apollo was attempting to buy some of the Nexstar Media Group's channels and had signed an agreement to purchase some Pacific Northwest TV channels. at Northwest Broadcasting.
Why the interest for the Dayton diffusion / printing cluster?
Because newspapers, radio stations and television "share a unique business model that involves complete integration of their operations," said Talkers, citing the Atlanta newspaper. The Dayton newspaper, television and radio share a newsroom and all operate in a building on South Main Street, near Dayton University. Cox closed its printing plant in Franklin in 2017 after arranging for Gannett's Indianapolis Star to print its daily newspapers in southwestern Ohio.
According to the Atlanta newspaper, Apollo "plans to maintain the management and operating structure of Cox Media within the new company, which has not yet been named."