WHO-TV in Des Moines and WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities are among the 19 television stations that have been bought from a private equity group by Tribune Co.


The $2.7 billion deal would make Tribune Co. the largest television station owner in the country, and some reports today indicated the newspaper and broadcasting company is interested in acquiring more stations.


"M&A (merges and acquisitions) is our night job," Tribune Co. President and CEO Peter Liquori said during a conference call with analysts following the deal's announcement today, TVNewsCheck reported.


Meredith Corp. had expressed an interest in buying some or all of the stations. A Meredith spokesman could not be reached for comment. Read more in the Business Record.


The deal would give Tribune 42 television stations, up from 23 stations. The company will become the largest affiliated station group for Fox Broadcasting, owned by 21st Century Fox, with 14 Fox stations. Tribune also would own 14 stations carrying programming of the CW network, a joint venture between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Tribune also would have five CBS affiliates, three ABC affiliates and two NBC stations, The Los Angeles Times reported. WHO is an NBC affiliate and WQAD is an ABC affiliate.


Earlier this month, Gannett Co. Inc., owner of The Des Moines Register, agreed to pay $2.2 billion for Belo Corp.'s 20 television stations.