UPDATE 1-Sinclair to buy Allbritton's TV stations for almost $1 bln

July 29 Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:58am EDT

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July 29 (Reuters) - Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc said it will acquire eight television stations from the Allbritton family for $985 million, the latest deal in a flurry of activity to purchase local broadcasters.

Allbritton, which is also the publisher of Politico, has 9 ABC affiliated broadcast TV stations in markets throughout the United States, including Birmingham, Alabama and Tulsa, Oklahoma. It also operates a 24-hour cable news network in Washington, D.C., considered the jewel of the portfolio.

The transaction, announced on Monday, follows Tribune's acquisition of Local TV and Gannett Co's purchase of Belo Corp.

Sinclair's stock rose 1.3 percent to $30.16.

"To buy a full-blown news operation in our nation's capital and an infrastructure that allows us to be connected to our branches of government and be at the pulse of national issues is a once-in-a lifetime event," Sinclair President David Smith said in a statement.

Baltimore-based Sinclair is the largest U.S. TV broadcasting group, with stations in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, according to the company.

Including the Allbritton deal, Sinclair's net revenue would have been $1.8 billion in 2012.

Moelis & Co served as financial adviser to Allbritton.

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