by Pam Zubeck
Freedom Communications, owner of our city's Gazette, keeps divesting itself of properties. This time, it's eight television stations.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Freedom Communications says it's closed the sale of its eight television stations, including one in Texas, to Sinclair Broadcast Group in a $385 million deal.
The transaction delivers to Baltimore-based Sinclair KFDM of Beaumont, Texas; WPEC-TV of West Palm Beach, Fla.; WWMT of Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.; WRGB and WCWN Albany, N.Y.; WTVC of Chattanooga, Tenn.; WLAJ of Lansing, Mich.; and KTVL of Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.
Newspaper and broadcast industry struggles with ad sale declines left Freedom in Chapter 11 protection for seven months ending April 2010. Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom said in a Monday statement the sale leaves it "essentially debt free."
Freedom owns 100 newspapers, including four in West and South Texas. Sinclair now has 74 television stations in 45 markets, including Austin, San Antonio and Beaumont in Texas.
Here's Freedom's news release about the sale:
Irvine, CA, April 2, 2012 – Freedom Communications announced today that, with the preliminary final order secured from the Federal Communications Commission, the sale of its broadcast properties to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has closed. Completion of the sale leaves Freedom essentially debt free.
The final order from the FCC is expected by the end of the month.
Following announcement of the sale agreement last fall, Sinclair has provided television management services for the eight stations through a Local Marketing Agreement.
Moelis & Company acted as financial advisor to Freedom, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisors.
About Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a national privately owned information and entertainment company of print publications and interactive businesses. The company’s print portfolio includes approximately 100 publications, including 24 daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, plus ancillary magazines and other specialty publications. The Company also operates news, information and entertainment websites, as well as mobile and tablet applications. For more information, visit www.freedom.com.
We wrote about Freedom's sales of some of its newspapers in March here.