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Lincoln Sells Sports Syndication

Lincoln Financial Group is selling its sports syndication business, which regionally broadcasts NCAA Southeastern Conference sports, primarily football and basketball. Lincoln also is selling three television stations to Raycom Media. Total sale price is $583 million. The stations involved in the transaction are WBTV Charlotte, North Carolina (CBS, DMA 25), WWBT Richmond, Virginia (NBC, DMA 59), and WCSC Charleston, South Carolina (CBS, DMA 100). However, because Raycom already owns CBS affiliate WWBT in Richmond, the company will have to spin off one of its now two Richmond stations. FCC rules prohibit the ownership of two top-rated stations in one market. Which station to spin off is still up in the air.

Lincoln also is selling its Charlotte radio stations for $100 million to Greater Media. Lincoln indicated that net proceeds from the TV and radio transactions, which are subject to FCC approval, are to be used primarily for debt reduction and share repurchases. Lincoln will continue to operate and invest in its remaining 15 radio properties but will consider a future sale.