Bill Appleton, 74, is chief legal officer of The E.W. Scripps Company. He joined Scripps in May 2008, and since then has led the legal team in numerous transactions, including, in 2021, the sale of Triton Digital; in 2020, the acquisition of ION Media Networks; in 2019, the acquisition of the Cordillera broadcast television group and eight broadcast television stations spun off by Nexstar following its acquisition of Tribune Media; in 2018, the divestiture of the Company’s radio stations, the acquisition of television stations KXXV (Waco, Texas) and WTXL (Tallahassee, Florida), and the acquisition of Triton Digital; in 2017, the acquisition of Katz Broadcasting Holdings and Bounce Media; in 2016, the acquisition of the podcast-streaming app, Stitcher; in April 2015, the spin-off and merger of the Scripps newspaper business with the newspaper business of Journal Communications and the subsequent acquisition by merger of the Journal Communications broadcast television and radio businesses; the acquisition of digital news and entertainment platforms Midroll and Newsy in 2015 and 2014, respectively; the acquisition of television stations from Granite Broadcasting in 2014; the acquisition of television stations from McGraw Hill in 2011; and the sale of the character licensing business of the Company’s United Feature Syndicate division in 2010. The McGraw Hill and United Feature deals received the Media and Middle-Market Deal of the Year awards, and the Granite deal received the Technology, Media and Telecom Deal of the Year award, from New York-based M&A Advisor. The Journal transactions received two awards from M&A Advisor in 2015, the Media Deal of the Year award and the Middle Market Deal of the Year award. M&A Advisor awarded the Media Deal of the Year and the Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year awards to the Company for the acquisition of Katz Broadcasting Holdings and Bounce Media, the Corporate/Strategic Deal of the Year award ($500MM-$1B) for the Cordillera transaction and the M&A Deal of the Year (over $1B) for the acquisition of ION.
Bill graduated from New York University Law School and began his career in 1978 with the law firm Baker Hostetler LLP. He opened the firm’s Cincinnati office in 1997, and served as the partner-in-charge there from January 2002 to May 2008.
At Baker Hostetler, Bill managed the legal work in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, spin-offs, and reorganizations involving public and private companies, and counseled companies with respect to corporate matters, takeover defense, public offerings, and compliance with securities laws.
During his tenure in private practice, Bill was listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America and The Best Lawyers in America. For his work on the spin-off of Scripps Networks Interactive, he was chosen to be a member of BTI Consulting Group’s 2007 “Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms,” a designation shared that year by only 113 lawyers in the United States. Bill is a past member of the Boards of The Ohio Humanities Council, The Cincinnati Opera and The May Festival.