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Providence Equity Buying Clear Channel’s TV Stations

Clear Channel Communications said Friday that it agreed to sell its television-station group to private-equity giant Providence Equity Partners for $1.2 billion.

The television-station deal includes 56 TV stations (including 18 digital-simulcast stations) in 24 markets, the stations’ associated Web sites, Clear Channel’s Television Operations Center and Inergize Digital Media, which manages the Television Group’s online and wireless initiatives.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

According to Clear Channel, the stations involved in the deal consist of 10 CW affiliates, eight Fox affiliates, seven NBC affiliates, six ABC affiliates, six CBS affiliates, four My Network TV affiliates, two NBC Weather Plus stations, two Telemundo stations, five independent stations and six stations affiliated with Clear Channel’s Variety Television Network (VTV).

“This is a rare opportunity to acquire a premier collection of broadcast-television stations with strong positions in many attractive markets across the United States,” Providence Equity managing director Al Dobron said in a statement.

The stations are primarily located in secondary markets, including Cincinnati; Salt Lake City; Eugene, Ore.; and Binghamton, N.Y.

The deal comes as Clear Channel -- which has about 1,100 radio stations across the country -- is involved in a contentious buyout with two other private-equity firms: Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Last Wednesday, Bain and Lee agreed to increase their offer for publicly traded Clear Channel by $1.40 per share to $39 each, or about $19.4 billion after some shareholders expressed dissatisfaction with their original deal. Even with the sweetened offer, some of Clear Channel’s largest shareholders have said they believe the offer is still too low.