CHICAGO, April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB)
announced today that it has agreed to acquire the assets of WTTV-TV (WB4),
Indianapolis, and its satellite station WTTK-TV in Kokomo, Ind., from
Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) for $125 million. The purchase price
represents a multiple of 11x pro forma 2002 EBITDA, including duopoly savings.
The transaction is intended to be structured as an asset exchange, funded with
the proceeds from the sale of certain Tribune Denver radio assets to Entercom
Communications Corp., which is currently managing the Denver radio stations.
"We have stated our intention to be a consolidator in television, and this
is another step in that direction," said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune Company
president and chief operating officer. "This transaction creates our fourth
duopoly and adds to our position as The WB Network's largest affiliate group."
FitzSimons added, "It makes both strategic and financial sense-we are
exiting Denver radio at a premium cash flow multiple and are acquiring
WTTV/WTTK in an excellent Midwest market. By creating a two-station cluster
in Indianapolis we have immediate opportunities to reduce costs and improve
revenue, which makes the purchase price very attractive in today's
Tribune acquired WXIN-TV (Fox59), Indianapolis, in 1997. Upon completion
of this acquisition, Tribune Broadcasting will own 24 stations with a combined
reach of 38.4% of U.S. television households (nearly 29% by Federal
Communication Commission standards).
"The Indianapolis duopoly significantly increases Tribune's presence in
that market. WTTV has always been a strong VHF competitor and coupled with
WXIN, Tribune stations will be the leading provider of information and
entertainment programming to the country's 25th largest market," said Pat
Mullen, Tribune Television president.
The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter 2002,
pending regulatory approvals.
Tribune Broadcasting owns and operates 23 major-market television
stations, including national superstation WGN-TV, and reaches more than
80 percent of U.S. television households. Upon completion of this
acquisition, Tribune Broadcasting will own 24 stations with a combined reach
of 38.4% of the country. The group's investment interests include The WB
Television Network (22%) and TV Food Network (31%). Los Angeles-based Tribune
Entertainment develops and distributes first-run television programming for
the Tribune station group and for national syndication. Tribune Broadcasting
also owns and operates Chicago's WGN-AM and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
TRIBUNE (NYSE: TRB) is one of the country's premier media companies,
operating businesses in broadcasting, publishing and on the Internet. It
reaches more than 80 percent of U.S. households, and is the only media company
with television stations, newspapers and Web sites in the nation's top three
markets. Tribune media span 23 major-market television stations, including
national superstation WGN-TV; 11 market-leading daily newspapers, including
the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsday; and news and information
Web sites in 18 of the nation's top 30 markets.
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SOURCE Tribune Company