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Pension Risk Transfer

E.W. Scripps to offload $50 million in pension liabilities with group annuity

E.W. Scripps Co., Cincinnati, will purchase a group annuity contract from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. to transfer about $50 million in U.S. pension plan liabilities, spokeswoman Kari Wethington said in an email.

The transaction is expected to close Thursday, said an 8-K filing with the SEC, and will transfer the responsibility of benefit payments of about 2,000 retirees and beneficiaries. That population, which consists of participants who receive low monthly benefit amounts, represents about 25% of the company's approximately 8,000 retirees and beneficiaries, Ms. Wethington said.

The purchase will be funded by plan assets and will not require additional contributions, the filing added. MassMutual will take over payments effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The publishing company previously offered a lump-sum window in 2015 to former employees who were vested in the plans but who had yet to retire. The number of former employees and the amount of liabilities they represented were not disclosed in the company's most recent 10-K filing. As of Dec. 31, according to that filing, pension plan assets totaled $464 million, while projected benefit obligations totaled $655 million, for a funding ratio of 70.8%.