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Nexstar is closing in on its deal for The CW

Tim Baysinger
Jun 30, 2022
Illustration of a collage featuring an old TV, parts of dollar bills, and a TV test pattern.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Local TV giant Nexstar appears to be closing on its long-rumored acquisition of The CW, with a deal possible in the next few weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Why it matters: Nexstar already owns the most local TV stations in the U.S. Now it has its sights set on a more national presence. Buying a broadcast network will go a long way toward that.

The latest: This possible deal was first reported back in January and has now dragged into the middle of the year.

  • The Journal added that the ownership structure being talked about would see Nexstar acquire 75%, with the CW's current owners Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global splitting the remaining 25%.
  • Nexstar wouldn't pay cash for the network but instead "assume at least a significant portion" of The CW's more than $100 million in losses.

Zoom out: The CW has always had different economics compared to the other broadcast networks.

  • The CW has never turned a profit on its own. But it has been a reliable source of income for its two parent companies, largely due to licensing deals for hits like "Arrow" and "Riverdale." In 2011, Netflix paid $1 billion to grab streaming rights for The CW's entire library.
  • But with both WBD and Paramount having their own streaming competitors, they've preferred to use those rights to beef up their own services. And with both HBO Max and Paramount+ having global ambitions, this also reduced the need for international syndication rights, further making The CW less valuable to its owners.
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