Sinclair will buy six TV stations for $412.5 million

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. announced an agreement Thursday to buy six television stations from Kansas City, Mo.-based Newport Television for $412.5 million.

The Hunt Valley-based broadcaster has been on an acquisition binge in the past year, purchasing 23 stations representing nearly $1 billion in assets.

The latest six stations are located in five markets: Cincinnati; San Antonio, Texas; the Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York area of Pennsylvania; the combined Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla., market; and Wichita/Hutchinson, Kan.

The deal, subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to close no earlier than December, the company said. Sinclair said it planned to finance the purchase price, except for a $41.25 million deposit, through cash, a bank loan or by accessing the capital markets.

"The Newport stations acquisition is consistent with our focus of adding 'big four' affiliates in mid-sized markets and strengthening our in-market positions," said David Smith, president and chief executive of Sinclair, in the announcement.

As part of the deal, Sinclair will acquire Newport's rights under the local marketing agreements with stations in Harrisburg, Pa., and Wichita, Kan.

Sinclair, which owns, operates or programs 74 television stations affiliated with major networks in 45 markets, also said it reached a separate agreement to buy the assets of Bay Television Inc., owner of a station in the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., market for $40 million.

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