Allbritton to Sell ABC Affiliates, Including KATV, to Sinclair Broadcast Group

by Lance Turner  on Monday, Jul. 29, 2013 9:00 am  

KATV-TV, Channel 7

A Year of TV Deals

The sale of KATV, which has been owned by Allbritton since 1983, is the latest in string of television station sales across the country and in Arkansas.

At the beginning of the year, Mission Broadcasting of Westlake, Ohio, closed on its purchase of Fox affiliate KLRT-TV, Channel 16, and CW affiliate KASN-TV, Channel 38, in Little Rock. Those stations are now being operated by Nexstar Broadcasting Group of Irving, Texas, under an "outsourcing agreement." Nexstar owns NBC affiliate KARK-TV, Channel 4, and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV, Channel 42, in Little Rock, as well as KNWA-TV in Fayetteville.

On July 1, Tribune Co. said it reached a deal to buy Local TV Holdings LLC's 19 TV stations, including CBS affiliate KFSM-TV, Channel 5, and MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW-TV, Channel 25, of Fort Smith/Fayetteville. 

In June, Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and owner of Little Rock CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, announced plans to buy TV station owner Belo Corp. for about $1.5 billion. The acquisition will nearly double Gannett's portfolio of stations from 23 to 43, reaching nearly one-third of U.S. households. 

A week before the Belo deal, Media General Inc. and New Young Broadcasting Holding Co. announced plans to combine, operating 30 TV stations in 27 markets. The move came after Media General sold all its newspapers last year to focus on broadcasting.

Sinclair itself has also been buying stations, quickly adding to its stable of mid-sized market properties. Before Monday, the company had announced three other deals in 2013, on and was track to have doubled in size to operate 134 stations in 69 markets.

"The current industry climate is very good for acquisitions, such as the Allbritton/Sinclair deal," Krile said. "Most are driven by the economies of scale -- the ability to centralize certain station operations that do not require a local presence."

Television stations are also seen as particularly lucrative because they attract billions of dollars in political campaign spending. And companies that own large porfolios of stations can command higher fees from cable and satellite companies that must pay to include local stations in their lineups.

From the Allbritton news release:

Allbritton Communications Company ("ACC") announced today that the Allbritton family ("Allbritton") has entered into an agreement to sell the stock of ACC's parent company, Perpetual Corporation and the equity interest of an affiliate, Charleston Television, LLC to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.    

Included in the Arlington, Virginia-based Allbritton station group are seven ABC affiliates in the following markets:



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