Lorimar-Telepictures has "agreed in principle" to buy six television stations, including KCST-TV in San Diego, for a reported purchase price of $1.8 billion, a Detroit television station reported Tuesday night.
The station, WJBK-TV in Detroit, is one of six stations formerly owned by Storer Communications that are to be included in the sale, said George Sells, the station's evening anchor. He said the deal reportedly also includes the Storer Washington news bureau and Storer Programming Inc. but not Storer's far-flung cable television operations.
Separately, a source told The Times that such negotiations have been under way.
Storer Executive Vice President Kenneth L. Bagwell declined to comment on the reports.
Lorimar-Telepictures officials could not be reached for their comments.
Paul Kagan, a Carmel-based television industry analyst, told The Times late Tuesday that the six stations would be worth at least $1.1 billion, but said he did not know how much the programming unit might be worth.
Sells said the station's report was based partly on a teletyped corporate "TWX" message summarizing the transaction. He noted that the sale does not include a seventh station owned by the company in Toledo, Ohio. It is being sold separately, he said.
The other television stations involved in the sale, he said, are WAGA in Atlanta, WSBK in Boston, WJW in Cleveland and WITI in Milwaukee.
The sale would mark Lorimar-Telepicture's first foray into broadcasting in major television markets. Telepictures, which merged with Lorimar earlier this year, brought with it controlling interest in four television stations: two in Puerto Rico; KMID-TV in Midland/Odessa, Tex., and KSPR-TV in Springfield, Mo. The firm also has a minority interest in a firm with a construction permit for a television station in Redding, Calif.
Lorimar, the highly successful producer of such shows as "Dallas," "Falcon Crest," and "Knots Landing," has been trying to diversify for some time. The company last year made an unsuccessful, $1-billion bid for Multimedia, a Greenville, S.C.-based television station owner.
The Storer television stations were included in a buyout of Storer Communications completed late last year. Under the plan, Storer was bought out by a subsidiary of the New York investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
As part of the $2.5-billion deal, Storer stockholders were to receive $91 per share of common stock and a warrant to purchase one share of common stock of SCI Holdings Inc., the KKR subsidiary buying Storer.