In a further attempt to secure regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of Tribune Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Tuesday that it has deals lined up to sell 23 TV stations to several buyers.
The deals, for which terms were not disclosed, are expected close at the same time as the Tribune transaction, which Sinclair anticipates will be near the end of the second quarter.
Purchasers include Standard Media Group, Meredith Corp., Howard Stirk and Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation, as well an unnamed buyer to be announced later.
Notably, Sinclair plans to sell Tribune’s WGN-TV, which is in the No. 3 Chicago market, to “WGN-TV LLC,” but noted Sinclair would still run the station under joint sales and shared services agreements.
It would also do so for the Sinclair-owned KUNS station in No. 2 Seattle market, as well as KMYU in Salt Lake City and Tribune’s KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City – all of which would be sold to Howard Stirk.
Cunningham Broadcasting singed on to buy Tribune’s CW affiliated stations KDAF and KIAH in the No. 5 Dallas and No. 7 Houston markets, respectively.
Sinclair would also sell of Tribune stations in Seattle, Miami, Denver, Cleveland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Salt Lake City to a buyer to be named.
Meredith would purchase Tribune’s KPLR-TV in the No. 21 DMA of St. Louis.
The move comes after judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel last week asked why the FCC reinstated the UHF discount last April that let’s media companies own more stations and still remain within the national ownership cap of 39 percent.
Sinclair had been counting on the discount, as its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition would see the broadcast giant reach about 72 percent of households.
“After a very robust divestiture process, with strong interest from many parties, we have achieved healthy multiples on the stations we are divesting,” said Chris Ripley CEO of Sinclair, in a statement. “While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step forward in our plan to create a leading broadcast platform with local focus and national reach. The combined company will continue to advance industry technology, including the Next Generation Broadcast Platform, and to benefit from significant revenue and expense synergies.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations