Emmis Exits TV Business

Emmis Communications Corp. is selling off its last TV station, Fox affiliate WVUE in New Orleans. The company said it has agreed to sell the station to Louisiana Media Co., principally owned by Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints.

The purchase price is $41 million, with after-tax proceeds expected to be approximately $35.5 million. In addition, Emmis retains net working capital, which is expected to be approximately $4 million.

The sale of WVUE completes the divestiture of Emmis’ television assets. Since announcing its intent to exit the television business in May 2005, Emmis has sold all of its 16 television stations, resulting in gross proceeds of approximately $1.24 billion.

“Our results from selling these stations have delivered substantial value to our shareholders and positioned us to focus on our core radio and publishing operations,” said Jeff Smulyan, Emmis Chairman and CEO.

Emmis purchased WVUE-TV along with three other Fox affiliates (KHON-TV in Honolulu; WALA-TV in Mobile, Ala.; and WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wis.) in July of 1998 from SF Broadcasting.

The agreement is subject to customary conditions, including FCC approval. Emmis expects to close the transaction in the second half of the calendar year.

The Indianapolis-based company owns 21 FM and 2 AM domestic radio stations along with a radio network, international radio stations and regional and specialty magazines.