Sinclair picks up 3 TV stations

Part of bigger deal with Guy Gannett


July 03, 1999|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said yesterday that it has completed its $81 million acquisition of three Midwestern television stations from Guy Gannett Communications.

Baltimore-based Sinclair does not plan to keep the stations -- WICS-TV of Springfield, Ill.; WICD-TV of Champaign, Ill.; and KGAN of Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- for long.

Sinclair picked up the stations as part of a wider $310 million transaction with Guy Gannett, and has said it will sell them off as part of a cost-reduction strategy.

"We had agreed to buy [the stations] during a relatively strong market environment last year," said Sinclair Treasurer Patrick J. Talamantes.

"When the market environment deteriorated, [Sinclair] instituted a $500 million divestiture program to get its balance sheets back in order."

Talamantes said the company has so far conducted divestitures worth $167 million. Sinclair had expected to complete the sale of the stations to Sunrise Television Corp. by the end of June.

However, this $81 million sale has been delayed because Sunrise has not yet gotten the required permission from the Department of Justice.

Sunrise Chief Executive Officer Robert N. Smith said Justice Department officials "raised some issues. We're trying to clear it up for them." Smith declined to give further details on the matter.

Pub Date: 7/03/99

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