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Gray Television buys TV stations from Hoak Media

ATLANTA (AP) -- Gray Television Inc. and Excalibur Broadcasting LLC said Wednesday that they reached a series of deals through which they will acquire a total of 15 television stations in seven markers from Hoak Media LLC and Parker Broadcasting Inc. for about $335 million in cash.

Gray said the deals will significantly expand its TV station holdings in growing markets throughout the central U.S. Then news pleased investors and Gray shares rose $1.76, or 18.8 percent, to $11.18 in morning trading. It peaked earlier at $11.20, the highest point since early 2007.

Gray shares have more than tripled since the start of the year

The stations Gray is slated to acquire from Hoak include 16 ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates in North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. As a result of regulatory requirements, Gray will sell four of the stations located in Colorado and Florida to outside companies.

Meanwhile, Excalibur reached separate deals with Hoak and Parker to buy four TV stations located in Nevada, North Dakota, Louisiana and Colorado, but will sell the Colorado station because of regulatory requirements.

Separately, Excalibur said it will buy two Fox-affiliated TV stations in North Dakota from Prime Cities Broadcasting Inc. for $7.5 million in cash.

The deals are expected to close in the first or second quarter of 2014. When that happens and other pending deals close, Gray will own or operate 123 channels in 39 markets.