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Sinclair Group to Buy Guy Gannett's 7 Television Stations for $310 Million

September 09, 1998| From Bloomberg News

BALTIMORE — Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. agreed to buy closely held Guy Gannett Communications' seven television stations for $310 million in cash, adding to its roster of mid-size TV stations throughout the U.S.

Baltimore-based Sinclair said it expects to sell Gannett's TV station in Rochester, N.Y., to Ackerley Group Inc. of Seattle. It didn't disclose terms, but one analyst said the sale price would be about $185 million. Sinclair, which owns WUFH-TV Channel 31 in Rochester, has 56 television and 54 radio stations.

The purchase deal follows a string of acquisitions that helped Sinclair boost its second-quarter revenue almost 30%. The company seeks to build groups of TV and radio stations in various small to mid-size markets so it can offer advertisers more options and at the same time charge higher rates.

The acquisition "strengthens station clusters in the Northeast and the Midwest and adds to our growing presence in Florida," said Sinclair Chief Executive David Smith. "The stations have excellent growth potential."

Sinclair's shares fell 31 cents to close at $18.13 on Nasdaq.

The sale of the stations marks Portland, Maine-based Guy Gannett's exit from the media business. Last week, the company agreed to sell its four newspapers, including its flagship Portland Press-Herald, to privately owned Seattle Times Co. for undisclosed terms.

Guy Gannett's stations are in Portland, Maine; Champaign and Springfield-Decatur, Ill.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Springfield, Mass.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Rochester.

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