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Bonten Buys WTVF-TV Nashville from Landmark

Private-equity investors made another inroad into the TV-station business as Bonten Media Group agreed Monday to buy CBS affiliate WTVF-TV Nashville, Tenn., from Landmark Communications, which is in the process of selling all of its media assets.

No price tag was announced for the definitive agreement, but it is thought to be more than $200 million.

Bonten operates 16 full-power, low-power and digital-TV stations in eight markets. The company is a partnership between private-equity outfit Diamond Castle Holdings and Randall D. (Randy) Bongarten, a veteran broadcasting executive and former president of Emmis Television.

Bongarten said WTVF is attractive because of strong management, its top ranking and Nashville’s strong economy as a state capital with diversity that includes the music industry, health care and military bases.

Landmark is pursuing a divestiture process that includes the recent sale of basic-cable-network operator The Weather Channel to a group led by NBC Universal.

Lehman Bros. is providing debt financing for the sale of WTVF-TV. UBS Investment Bank serves as Bonten’s advisor. Diamond Castle Partners IV and related entities are funding equity for the transaction.

The sale, subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to close within 90 days.