Tribune Co. said Monday it will sell its WB station in Albany, N.Y., as part of an overall plan to sell of $500 million in assets and reduce expenses.
Freedom Broadcasting cut a deal to buy WCWN Albany from Tribune for $17 million. The station is set to become a CW affiliate in the fall. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, would give Freedom a duopoly in the market, where it already owns the CBS affiliate WRGB.
Possibly complicating matters is that WRGB already has a joint sales agreement with UPN affiliate WNYA. Also, because there are a small number of stations in the Albany market, Freedom may be challenged to obtain FCC approval for a duopoly.
The deal is Tribune's second to sell a station in as many weeks. In early June, the company said it will sell WATL Atlanta to Gannett Co. for $180 million. More station sales are expected.
As Tribune pursues select station sales as part of a larger effort to reshape its financials, major shareholder the Chandler family is fighting the company's plan to buy back $2 billion of its own stock.
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