21st Century Fox Buying 7 TV Stations from Sinclair

21st Century Fox said it reached an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Co. to acquire seven television stations for about $910 million.

Sinclair is in the process of purchasing Tribune and has to sell some stations as part of its effort to get its deal approved by government regulators.

For Fox, the deal would grow its TV station group, giving it a presence in 19 of the top 20 market, including several markets that align with sports teams whose games it airs.

The stations Fox is acquiring are KCPQ-TV, Seattle, WSFL-TV, Miami, KDVR-TV, Denver, WJW-TV, Cleveland, KTXL-TV, Sacramento, Calif, KSWB-TV, San Diego and KSTU-TV, Salt Lake City, Utah.

"This transaction illustrates Fox's commitment to local broadcasting and we are pleased to add these stations to our existing portfolio,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations. “With this acquisition, we will now compete in 19 of the top 20 markets and have a significantly larger presence in the west, which will enhance our already strong platform. This expansion will further enrich our valuable alignments with the NFL, including our new Thursday Night Football rights, MLB and college sports assets. We are also happy to add many talented Tribune employees to our group, some of whom we know well."

21st Century Fox has also entered into new network affiliation agreements with Sinclair (and licensees of certain stations to which Sinclair provides services), and will grant Sinclair options to acquire two of its stations, the CW-affiliate WPWR in Chicago, IL, where FTS currently has a duopoly, and FOX-affiliate KTBC in Austin, TX for potential proceeds of approximately $15 million and $160 million, respectively.

Here is an email sent by Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern to Tribune Media employees regarding the announcement:

Subject: Sinclair Transaction Update

Just a few minutes ago Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its divestiture plans for the remaining stations they intend to sell as part of the regulatory approval process for our merger.

Seven Tribune Media stations are the heart of this announcement—KCPQ (Seattle), WSFL (Miami), KDVR (Denver), WJW (Cleveland), KTXL (Sacramento), KSWB (San Diego), and KSTU (Salt Lake City)—and they will all be sold to Fox Broadcasting Company. I have attached the press release issued by Sinclair a few moments ago.

Fox has long been an important partner for Tribune Media. We are the largest Fox-affiliated station group in the country, so there is already great familiarity between our companies and our people, and I expect our stations will enjoy tremendous success as part of the Fox family.

Importantly for all of us, this announcement should set the stage for the FCC’s regulatory review to move forward. We expect the commission will soon open-up the period for public comment on the transaction, which will likely last for roughly 6 weeks.

We’ll keep you updated as the transaction moves forward and we can share more information.



Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.