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Sinclair to purchase Allbritton broadcast empire
Media industry analyst Jane Hall described Sinclair’s acquisition of Allbritton’s broadcasting channels as a part of a recent broadcasting industry “buying frenzy.” The Tribune Co. recently bought 19 broadcasting stations for $2.7 billion, just weeks after the Gannett Co. dished out $1.5 billion for Belo Corp.’s 20 television stations.
“Newspapers are still struggling to find the right combination of their assets between online and [print], but television stations are perceived as a profitable entity and there’s a lot of consolidation going on,” said Ms. Hall, a journalism professor at American University. “From Sinclair’s standpoint, they’re getting something potentially very exciting. … I think a lot of people have gotten excited about local television news. [But] I’ll be curious to see what Politico will do. They’ve certainly got an exciting brand.”
According to Sinclair, the seven ABC affiliates reach 4.9 percent of TV households nationwide, while NewsChannel 8 reaches more than 2 million households in the D.C. area. After consummation of the Allbritton stations, Sinclair will own 149 stations in 76 markets, reaching approximately 38.2 percent of U.S. television households.
The deal still requires approval by the Federal Communications Commission and must satisfy other closing conditions. The companies expect to complete the transaction by the end of the year.
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