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Najafi, Trinity Broadcasting offer to buy Tegna at $20 per share

(Reuters) - Private investment firm Najafi Companies and Trinity Broadcasting Network on Tuesday offered to take U.S. regional TV station operator Tegna Inc TGNA.N private at $20 per share.

Tegna’s shares jumped 16% to $17.5 in extended trading.

The offer values Tegna at $4.4 billion, according to Reuters calculations.

The move follows a Reuters report earlier in the day that Gray Television has withdrawn its offer to acquire larger peer Tegna because of concerns about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on U.S. regional TV station operators.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc APO.N and media mogul Byron Allen have also made $20-per-share all-cash offers for Tegna and remain in contention to buy the company with deal negotiations continuing, Reuters had reported.

Tegna, a spinoff of Gannett Co Inc’s GCI.N broadcasting and digital arm, runs 62 television stations in 51 U.S. markets, and reaches 39% of television households in the country.

While the regional TV sector is benefiting from increased political advertising this year ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, TV advertising budgets have been in decline as media consumption shifts to the internet and online streaming. This decline could accelerate should the coronavirus outbreak weigh on consumer spending and the appetite of advertisers to woo them.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel

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