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TV Station Owner Nexstar May Sell Itself as Losses Mount

Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc., manager of television stations in the south and northeast, said it’s exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.

Nexstar, based in Irving, Texas, hasn’t turned a profit in at least 12 years, losing almost $100 million in 2002 and $78 million in 2008, when the recession caused a drop in television advertising. It had total debt of $627 million on March 31, according to a company filing.

Nextstar rose 27 percent to its highest level since November 2007 after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported yesterday that it may get more than $1 billion, including debt, in a sale. The shares gained 1 cent to $9.31 at 4:29 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Founded by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Perry Sook in 1996, Nexstar went public in 2003 and tried unsuccessfully to sell itself in 2007. In a statement today, the company said there’s no set timetable for the strategic review and that it has no plans to disclose developments.

Nexstar has retained Moelis & Co. as its financial adviser and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as its legal counsel.

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