Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the stock of the holding company that owns Little Rock’s KATV Ch. 7 and other Allbritton TV stations.
KATV is the ABC affiliate in the Little Rock television market. The markets included in the sale include Little Rock, AR; Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, AL; Harrisburg, PA; Tulsa, OK; Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA; and Charleston, SC.
Sinclair will acquire Charleston Television, LLC, both owned and controlled by the Allbritton family, for an aggregate purchase price of $985 million. The Allbritton stations consist of seven ABC Network affiliates and NewsChannel 8, a 24-hour cable/satellite news network covering the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
The Federal Communications Commission must approve the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.
To comply with FCC local television ownership rules, Sinclair expects to sell the license and certain related assets of its existing stations in Birmingham, AL – WABM (MNT) and WTTO (CW), Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York, PA – WHP (CBS), and Charleston, SC – WMMP (MNT) and to provide sales and other non-programming support services to each of these stations pursuant to customary shared services and joint sales agreements.
“We are thrilled to add the Allbritton properties to our growing portfolio and national footprint,” said David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. “To buy a full-blown news operation in our nation’s capital and an infrastructure that allows us to be connected to our branches of government and be at the pulse of national issues is a once-in-a lifetime event. We are especially excited to acquire the NewsChannel 8 local news channel, not only for the content it can provide our existing news stations, but moreover because their regional cable presence provides the perfect platform should we decide to expand it into other markets, especially given the amount of local news we produce across our entire portfolio.”
Allbritton is the owner of the popular political new web site, Politco.com. The Sinclair deal does not involve that property.