Media General Sells Station to University of Georgia

The University of Georgia has agreed to buy the CBS affiliate in Toccoa, Ga., from Media General. According to an announcement issued by both parties, the University of Georgia Research Foundation will purchase the assets of WNEG-TV for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and expected to be completed in the third or fourth quarter of 2008.

WNEG represents the fourth station in a group of five that the Richmond, Va., TV group is divesting. Media General (NYSE: MEG) sold WTVQ-TV in Lexington, Ky., to Morris Network, Inc. on May 13, and has agreed to sell WMBB-TV, the ABC station in Panama City, Fla., and KALB/NALB-TV, a NBC/CBS station in Alexandria, La., to Hoak Media Corp.

Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO of Media General, said the sale of the fifth station, WCWJ-TV in Jacksonville, Fla., “is progressing.”

When the sales of all five stations are completed, Media General expects to realize total proceeds of $100 million to $105 million, which will be used to reduce debt by $60 million to $65 million after considering estimated taxes to be paid. All five stations were included in discontinued operations in Media General“s first quarter 2008 results.

WNEG, which has approximately 30 employees, was acquired by Media General in 2000 as part of the acquisition of a group of television stations from the former Spartan Communications.

In a separate Media General item, company board chairman J. Stewart Bryan III announced he would step down by the end of September. Bryan“s family has run the company and its predecessors since 1887.