To Appease FCC, Sinclair To Sell 3 Stations
To salvage its acquisition of Allbritton Communications, Sinclair has proposed to sell three stations that it had hoped to operate as sidecars under joint sales and sharing agreements to bring the deal into line with the FCC's proposal to curtail use of such agreements.
Sinclair said it is concerned that the expected adoption of the FCC proposal next week may result in its being unable to close the Allbritton deal as it is currently structured before the deadline of July 27, 2014.
In a letter to the FCC, Sinclair said it will sell three stations that it now owns -- WHP Harrisburg-Lancaster, Pa. (CBS); WMMP Charleston, S.C. (MNT); and WABM Birmingham, Ala. (MNT) -- to independent third parties.
Sinclair assured the FCC that it would not enter into any operational or financial agreements with any of the buyers.
In its original deal, Sinclair had proposed spinning the stations off to two related companies -- Deerfield and Howard Stirk Holdings -- to continue to keep a hand in their operation through sales and sharing agreements.
In addition, Sinclair told the FCC, it would also stop providing services to WTAT, the Fox affiliate in Charleston, and would transfer to the buyer of WHP, the rights under an existing LMA to provide services to WLYH, the CW affiliate in Harrisburg.
Sinclair agreed last summer to buy Allbritton for $985 million. Allbritton includes WJLA Washington and the ABC affiliates in six other markets, Harrisburg, Charleston and Birmingham. Sinclair intends to hang on to all seven of the stations.