DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The media conglomerate Gannett Co. has reached an agreement to buy Dallas-based Belo Corp. for roughly $1.5 billion in cash, the two sides announced on Thursday.

The move catapults Gannett into the nation’s fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates, reaching nearly a third of all U.S. households.

As part of the transaction, Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share, a 28.1 percent premium to the closing price of Belo stock on June 12. Gannett will also assume $715 million in existing debt.

The transaction has already been approved by the boards of both companies.

The acquisition nearly doubles Gannett’s current broadcast portfolio from 23 to 43 stations, including stations to be serviced through shared services or similar sharing arrangements.

“We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership,” said Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett. “By enhancing our portfolio with one of the largest, most geographically diverse and network-balanced TV station groups in the country, the new Gannett will be well positioned to lead innovation, bolster our existing growth initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape.”

Gannett also currently owns 82 U.S. daily newspapers, including USA TODAY.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Also Check Out: