Sinclair Group buying KUPN-TV of Las Vegas $87 million outlay provides entry into rapidly growing market

February 01, 1997|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said yesterday that it has agreed to acquire the assets of KUPN-TV of Las Vegas for $87 million.

The acquisition enables Sinclair to tap the rapidly growing Las Vegas market.

"The market is simply growing faster than most of the markets in the country," said Patrick Talamantes, director of corporate finance for the Baltimore-based broadcast company.

"As a television market, revenues have doubled in the past four years alone. There just aren't markets of that size around."

Sinclair's stock rose 25 cents yesterday to close at $25.50 a share.

Sinclair also said that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of two Buffalo, N.Y.-based radio stations, WGR-AM and WWWS-AM, for $1.5 million. Sinclair currently sells commercial inventory for the two stations through a joint sales agreement.

"It is just a natural for us to go ahead and buy them," Talamantes said.

Sinclair is one of the nation's largest broadcast groups. It owns and provides programming services to 28 television stations in 20 separate markets, including Channels 45 and 54 in Baltimore.

It also owns and provides sales and programming services to 26 radio stations, and it has options to acquire an additional seven stations.

The radio group is one of the 20 biggest groups in the United States.

Sinclair said it will fund the KUPN-TV deal with bank debt, issuing securities or both.

Following completion of the KUPN-TV deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, the television group will reach about 15 percent of U.S. television households and includes ABC, CBS, Fox, United Paramount Network and Warner Bros. Co. affiliates.

The announcement follows Sinclair's biggest deal, the acquisition of St. Louis-based River City Broadcasting LP, which closed in May 1996. That deal was valued at $1.2 billion when the transaction was announced last April.

"The acquisition of KUPN is a great acquisition," said Vinton Vickers, a broadcast analyst with New York-based Furman Selz LLC. "It certainly helps Sinclair with their strategy of building up to a critical mass."

Vickers said the $87 million was in line with other industry acquisitions.

Pub Date: 2/01/97

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