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Sinclair to Buy Allbritton TV Assets in Near $1 Billion Deal

Image: Sinclair to Buy Allbritton TV Assets in Near $1 Billion Deal

By Jim Meyers   |   Monday, 29 Jul 2013 12:21 PM

Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy seven more TV stations and a news network for a total of $985 million.

In the deal, Sinclair will acquire the stock of Perpetual Corp. and the equity interest of Charleston Television, both owned by the Allbritton family.

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The TV stations are ABC Network affiliates covering nearly 5 percent of U.S. TV households. The deal also includes NewsChannel 8, a 24-hour cable-satellite news network covering the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Sinclair said in a statement that "completion of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by the FCC and antitrust clearance, as applicable."

Sinclair expects to close the deal in the fourth quarter of 2013.

David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair, said: "We are thrilled to add the Allbritton properties to our growing portfolio and national footprint.

"To buy a full-blown news operation in our nation's capital and an infrastructure that allows us to be connected to our branches of government and be at the pulse of national issues is a once-in-a-lifetime event."

In February, Newsmax reported that Sinclair was buying the broadcast assets of 18 TV stations owned by Barrington for $370 million, reinforcing its position as the nation's largest independent owner of broadcast TV stations.

As part of that deal, veteran media producer, conservative commentator, and Newsmax blogger Armstrong Williams' company acquired two stations, located in Flint, Mich., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Now Williams tells Newsmax that he will "very probably" acquire a station in Charleston, S.C., that Sinclair will sell due to the fact that one of the Allbritton stations it is buying is in Charleston and Sinclair must comply with FCC local television ownership rules.

"When people talk about diversity and including people with different backgrounds, Sinclair doesn't just talk, it does," Williams said.

"I understand there is a lack of what would be considered to be minority ownership in America. I cannot ignore the history of Americans who happen to be black in this country. But this is about more than just race. It is about broadening the scope of broadcast ownership in America."

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Williams has been producing and hosting public affairs and entertainment programming for the broadcast industry, including for Sinclair, for more than 20 years. He served as the COO of Renaissance TV Cable Network from 2001-2003, where he managed staff, programming, advertising, and the development of prime-time specials.

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