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Media General Mulls Multi-Station Sale

Media General, a Richmond, Va.-based station group announced this week that it is considering selling five of its broadcast TV stations in mid-sized markets in the Southeastern U.S.

The stations are:

  • WCWJ (CW), Jacksonville, Fla. (DMA #49)
  • WTVQ (ABC), Lexington, Ky. (DMA #64)
  • WMBB (ABC), Panama City, Fla. (DMA #154)
  • KALB/NALB (NBC/CBS), Alexandria, La. (DMA #180)
  • WNEG, Toccoa, Ga., an independent satellite station for WSPA, Spartanburg, S.C.

“The decision to explore the potential sale of five stations is a result of our ongoing analysis of our portfolio,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO. “Any sales would enable Media General to use the proceeds to reduce debt and strengthen our balance sheet. Divestitures also would help position our Broadcast Division to pursue future growth opportunities. We believe these stations will be viewed as welcome additions to the portfolios of one or more buyers. They are all good performers in strong markets.”

The company, whose media coverage is primarily focused on the Southeastern United States, owns three metropolitan newspapers, 22 daily community newspapers, more than 150 weeklies and other publications, as well as 23 network-affiliated TV stations that reach more than 32 percent of the television households in the Southeast and nearly 9.5 percent nationwide. The company also owns more than 75 online enterprises that are associated with its newspapers and television stations.

Media General said there is no assurance that any transaction will take place, but that additional information will be forthcoming, should any transactions occur.

Over the past three years, the company’s stock has fallen 50 percent and in its third quarter report announced last month, it reported that earnings had decreased 88 percent over the same period last year, mainly due to a lack of political ads.