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Sinclair Agrees To Buy Six Newport Stations and Two LMAs for $412.5 Million

BALTIMORE: Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it has agreed to buy six TV stations for $412.5 million. The deal brings Sinclair’s station acquisition total over the last year to 23.

“The Newport stations acquisition is consistent with our focus of adding Big Four affiliates in mid-sized markets and strengthening our in-market positions,” said Sinclair president and CEO, David Smith.

The stations to be acquired include WKRC (CBS 12) in Cincinnati, Designated Market Area No. 35; WOAI (NBC 48) in San Antonio, Texas, DMA 36; WHP (CBS 21) in Harrisburg, Penn., DMA 41; WPMI (NBC 15) and WJTC (IND 45) serving Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., DMA 60; and KSAS (Fox 26) serving Wichita and Hutchinson, Kansas, DMA 67. The six stations collectively reach 3 percent of U.S. TV households.

Newport’s stations also have several secondary affiliations, including CW and MNT, among others, which are included in the transaction. Sinclair will also acquire Newport’s rights under the local marketing agreements with WLYH (CW 23) in Harrisburg and KMTW (MNT 35) in Wichita, as well as options to acquire the license assets. 

Sinclair said it will fund the transaction, less a $41.26 million deposit, with cash on hand and a bank loan “and/or by accessing capital markets.” Assuming current market conditions and Sinclair’s ability to “create synergistic opportunities,” the stations are expected to add around $55 million to $60 million in pro forma TV cash flow for 2012-13. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in December of this year.

Separately, Sinclair announced an agreement to buy WTTA-TV, a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Tampa, Fla., from Bay Television, Inc., for $40 million. Bay TV is owned primarily by Sinclair’s controlling shareholders. Since 1998, Sinclair has operated WTTA pursuant to a local marketing agreement, which will be terminated upon closing. As this transaction is between entities under common control, a fairness opinion was obtained by Sinclair’s board The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012, subject to regulatory approval.

In yet another deal, is selling KMYS, a CW in San Antonio, Texas, and WSTR, a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Cincinnati, to Deerfield Media, Inc., subject to the Fox Television Stations purchase option with respect to WSTR, which expires March 31, 2013. Deerfield is also getting the right to buy WPMI and WJTC in the Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla., market. Sinclair will continue to run the stations after the transfer under shared services and joint sales agreements.

Pro forma for the Newport transaction, Sinclair will own, operate and run 82 TV stations in 47 markets, reaching 27.3 percent of the U.S. TV households. Sinclair’s affiliate list will include 21 Fox stations, 19 MyNetworkTV, 15 CWs, 11 ABC, 11 CBS, three NBC, one indie and one Azteca.