Walt Disney Co., flush with cash and eager to build or buy new entertainment assets, announced today that it has agreed to buy independent KHJ-TV Channel 9 in Los Angeles for $320 million.
If completed, the deal will mark Disney's debut in the TV station business and settle a 22-year dispute over the station's ownership.
Under terms of the deal, Disney will pay most of the purchase price, or $217 million, to station owner RKO, a subsidiary of Gencorp Inc., a diversified manufacturer in Akron, Ohio. An additional $103 million would be paid to Fidelity Television, a competing applicant for KHJ's station license.
Until six weeks ago, the station was earmarked for sale to Westinghouse Electric. But Westinghouse pulled out of its 15-month agreement when it became evident that federal regulatory approval would not be secured by Jan. 31.