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The New York Times Co. Exploring Sale of Stations

The New York Times Co. said Tuesday it is exploring a sale of its TV station group that could fetch up to $500 million, according to analyst estimates.

The company owns nine network affiliated stations in mid-sized markets ranging from Memphis, Tenn. to Moline, Ill. The group includes one duopoly in Oklahoma City, NBC affiliate KFOR and MyNetworkTV outlet KAUT.

The Times Co. says a sale would allow it to focus newspaper business and growing digital assets.

"The decision to explore the sale of our broadcast stations is a result of our ongoing analysis of our business portfolio," Janet Robinson, president and CEO, said in a statement. "These are well-managed and profitable stations that generate substantial cash flows and are located in attractive markets."

The broadcast group accounts for only 4% of the company's total revenue and is expected to generate $150 million in revenue this year with $33 million in operating profit.

The New York Times station portfolio includes:

WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa (NBC);

--KFSM Ft. Smith, Ark. (CBS);

--WHNT Huntsville, Ala. (CBS);

--WREG Memphis, Tenn. (CBS);

--WQAD Moline, Ill. (ABC);

--WTKR in Norfolk, Va. (CBS);

--KFOR Oklahoma City, Okla. (NBC);

--KAUT Oklahoma City, Okla. (MyNetworkTV); and

--WNEP Scranton, Penn. (ABC).