Sinclair and ABC Extend Affiliation Talks

HUNT VALLEY, MD.: Sinclair Broadcast Group said today that its affiliation negotiations with the ABC Network have been extended for another month. Sinclair has nine stations affiliated with the network. This marks the second, one-month extension for negotiations. Sinclair’s contract with ABC expired Dec. 31, but were extended at that time by a month.

Sinclair recently closed carriage deals with cable operators that include some of its ABC stations. Its December agreement with Time Warner Cable included three. The contentious battle with Mediacom included Sinclair ABC affiliates in St. Louis, Mo., Mobile, Ala., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Coinciding with the announcement of the extension, Sinclair’s share price (NASDAQ: SBGI) hit its highest levels since the crash of September 2008. Shares were trading near $5.70 mid-day (EST) up from around $5.50 yesterday and closer to $5 for most of January. The stock reached a 52-week low of 85 cents last March, when the market bottomed out.

Sinclair executives earlier this month revised their guidance on the company’s fourth quarter upward. Broadcast revenues are expected to be 6.5 percent lower than last year as opposed to between 11 and 12.8 percent.

More on Sinclair:
January 4, 2010
: “Sinclair Lightens Up on 4Q”
“Advertising revenues from the auto sector has been a major driver of the revenue improvement due to increased spending by dealers and domestic manufacturers.”

November 4, 2009: “Sinclair Beats Street
Third-quarter broadcast revenues for Sinclair were in line with analyst estimates at $136.4 million, down 9 percent from last year’s $150.1 million. Net broadcasting income was $14.9 million versus $10.2 million a year ago.