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Granite confirms WDWB sale plans

Granite confirmed Monday (Oct. 1) that its WB affiliate WDWB-TV Detroit is
for sale and that it has hired Goldman Sachs to help evaluate any offers from
would-be buyers.

Sources say that after some internal debate Granite's
board approved putting the station up for sale last week.

Granite said it wants to sell Detroit to pay down debt. Sources say possible bidders include Tribune, the largest WB affiliate group.

Granite is gearing up to take over the NBC affiliation in the San Francisco market for which it has agreed to pay NBC more than $30 million a year for ten years. Some Granite followers on Wall Street believe the company may to try to sell other stations beside Detroit in an effort to further improve its balance sheet and provide more resources for the San Francisco market where it has a duopoly that includes the soon-to-be-NBC-affiliate KNTV and WB affiliate KWWB.

However, a well-placed source with knowledge of the company's plans says it currently has no intention of selling any other stations within the group outside of Detroit. From a seller's perspective, it's not the best time to put a station on the block. In fact, analysts say, the TV station sales market is as bearish right now as it's been in years.

"There aren't any real eager buyers of TV stations these
days unless you get down to a real low [sales price]" says one Wall Street
source. But those familiar with Granite's thinking say the company believes
there will always be a market for a top-10 market station and that it's
confident there will be multiple bidders. Granite stock was up 7% to $1.50 on
yesterday's news.