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Standard & Poor’s Cuts Sinclair

NEW YORK: Standard & Poor’s has lowered the rating on Sinclair a step further in to junk status. S&P cut Sinclair’s (NASDAQ:SBGI) corporate credit rating from BB- to B+.

“We believe that sluggish TV advertising in a nonelection, recession year will cause Sinclair’s EBITDA to decline further and leverage to continue to rise,” wrote Deborah Kinzer, an S&P credit analyst. “The negative rating outlook reflects our concerns about the company's deteriorating credit metrics and its ability to refinance potential upcoming puts.”

The Wall Street Journal said SBGI has $438 million in convertible debt coming due in put options in 2010 and 2011.

SBGI owns and/or operates 58 TV stations in 35 markets, as well as real estate investments. The company posted a net loss of nearly $85.7 million in 1Q09 on revenues of $154.7 million. Net loss for 2008 totaled $241.5 million on revenues of $754.5 million. The credit rating cut appeared to have little effect on share price, which reached $1.93 in afternoon trading after closing Thursday at around $1.86. -- Deborah D. McAdams