Media merger should be seamless for Volvo Cars Open

Meredith Corp. is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

The parent of the NBC television affiliate in Charleston is buying the company that owns the newly renamed Volvo Cars Open women’s tennis tournament held each spring on Daniel Island.

Media General Inc.’s cash-and-stock acquisition of Meredith Corp. is valued at about $2.4 billion.

The combined company will be called Meredith Media General. It will own 88 TV stations in 54 markets and a stable of women-oriented media brands that include Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Allrecipes, Parents and Shape.

Locally, Richmond, Va.-based Media General owns WCBD-TV in Mount Pleasant. Its shareholders will own about 65 percent of the combined company.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith has a controlling stake in the former Family Circle Cup, which was renamed the Volvo Cars Open under a three- to five-year deal announced earlier this month. The company relocated the 43-year-old professional tour event to Charleston from Hilton Head Island in 2001.

Media General referred questions about the Daniel Island tournament to Meredith. Art Slusark, Meredith’s chief communications officer, said he expects the deal will have no impact on the Volvo Cars Open.

“We do not see it having any effect at all,” Slusark said Tuesday.

Meredith CEO Steve Lacy will become chief executive officer and president of the combined company. Media General’s chairman, J. Stewart Bryan III, will retain that title after the sale.

“This merger creates greater opportunities for profitable growth than either company could achieve on its own,” Bryan said in a written statement Tuesday. “Importantly, shareholders of both companies will benefit from the upside potential of a diversified and strategically well-positioned media company with a strong financial profile and the ability to generate significant free cash flow.”

The deal is scheduled to close mid-2016. It requires approval from shareholders of both companies and from the Federal Communications Commission.

Media General said it will sell or swap WSPA, a CBS affiliate that serves the Greenville-Spartanburg area, to avert regulatory concerns over federal TV ownership limits. Meredith also has a station in that market, WHNS Fox Carolina.

Broadcasters in five other areas around the country will be divested for the same reason.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.