Sinclair to buy Buffalo station $33 million deal for Channel 23 may result in resale

Broadcasting

August 22, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said yesterday that it has agreed to acquire a Buffalo, N.Y., television station for $33 million, with the intention of selling it to a third party.

The Baltimore-based broadcasting company will purchase WNEQ-TV Channel 23 from Western New York Public Broadcasting Association and intends to program the station under a local marketing agreement (LMA).

The transaction is expected to be financed with bank borrowings, Sinclair said.

The Western New York Public Broadcasting Association must obtain Federal Communications Commission approval to switch Channel 23 from a public station to a commercial one, said David B. Amy, Sinclair's chief financial officer.

The acquisition and the LMA are subject to FCC and Justice Department approvals, he said. Sinclair expects to receive the approvals for the programming agreement by the end of this year.

The company most likely will sell Channel 23 but provide its programming, because Sinclair also owns WUTV-TV (Fox) in Buffalo. The FCC does not permit a company to hold more than one license for a television station in the same market.

Sinclair is a diversified broadcasting company that owns or programs 56 television stations and 54 radio stations. Its television group reaches about 22.9 percent of the television households in the nation. Its radio group is one of the nation's top 10.

Sinclair shares closed yesterday at $22.75, down $2.125.

Pub Date: 8/22/98

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