Post-Newsweek Walks Away from WTVJ
In another sign of the troubled station trading marketplace, Post-Newsweek's $205 million purchase of NBC Local Media's WTVJ Miami has been called off.
"Given the current economic environment, and the delay in receiving the necessary regulatory approval, the deal has been terminated," the parties said in a joint announcement this afternoon. "The purchase of WTVJ was scheduled to close by end of 2008."
Post-Newsweek, owned by the Washington Post Co., had planned to operate the station in tandem with its ABC affiliate in Miami, WPLG.
The collapse of the deal is a setback for NBC's TV station division, which had also hoped to sell its O&O in Hartford, Conn., WVIT. But it quietly pulled it off the market earlier this year after failing to attract any buyers.
The Miami deal was the second major station deal to stall this quarter.
Bonten Media, headed by Randy Bongarten and backed by the Diamond Castle equity fund, told Landmark Communications in October that it would not be able to follow through with its $209 million purchase of WTVF Nashville because its financing had dried up. The lead financier on the deal: the ill-fated Lehman Bros.
Although the Federal Trade Commission cleared the WTVJ deal last October, it had become snagged in the FCC approval process.
Last week, in opening up the proceeding to greater public participation, the FCC noted that it had received opposition to the deal from several parties, including three Democratic members of Congress from Florida: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ron Klein and Kendrick B. Meek.