Looks like TV-station operator Hearst-Argyle (NYSE: HTV) wants more money if it is going to sell its remaining public shares back to privately owned Hearst Corporation. Following discussion with Hearst-Argyle's board, Hearst Corp. said in a press release that it had increased its offer for the company's publicly traded shares to $4.50 from $4.00 per share, a 12.5 percent increase on its original offer made last month.
The $4.50 offer also represents a 115 percent premium to the $2.09/share price that the Hearst-Argyle shares when the original offer was made, so it remains an attractive one. Hearst Corp. owns about 70 percent of Hearst-Argyle's Class A common stock, with the remaining stake owned by management and institutional funds. Like most TV companies, Hearst-Argyle has been stung by advertisers moving online; the company's fourth-quarter 2008 revenue declined 9 percent even with a record amount of political advertising during the election (without political ads, its revenue would have declined well into the double-digits).
By Rory Maher