March 20 Sinclair Broadcast Group
proposed on Thursday to sell some Allbritton TV stations it
agreed to acquire in a deal last July to meet requirements of
broadcasting regulators about companies sharing advertising and
sales staff across competing stations.
Sinclair said in a statement that it will shed a station in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; and
Birmingham, Alabama. It will also discontinue offering services
to certain station affiliates in Charleston and Harrisburg.
Sinclair Chief Executive David Smith said the proposed
changes will not have a material impact on Sinclair or on the
Allbritton deal. The company agreed to buy eight TV stations
from the Allbritton family, the publisher of Politico, for $985
The stations to be sold were expected to contribute only
about $21 million in pro forma earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation, and amortization this year, Sinclair said.
Sinclair proposed the structure as the Federal
Communications Commission readies to vote on March 31 on new
rules that would prohibit broadcast companies form controlling
more than two TV stations in a market by sharing advertising
The new rules would count a broadcaster as having ownership
interest in any stations where that owner sells 15 percent or
more of advertising.
Sinclair struck a deal with Allbritton as a flurry of
activity around local TV stations intensified. Last year,
Gannett bought Belo Corp for $1.5 billion and Tribune Co
bought Local TV Holdings for $2.7 billion.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Grant