Tom Benson’s Fox affiliate will be the first station in the market for Raycom, which has operated it since 2013.
New Orleans billionaire Tom Benson is selling Fox affiliate WVUE New Orleans (DMA 50) to Raycom Media, which has been operating the station through joint sales and shared services agreements since 2013.
Raycom is paying $51.8 million for the station, according to the FCC filing seeking approval of the deal. Benson exercised a put option in his the operating agreement with Raycom on Feb. 6.
Raycom doesn’t currently own a station in New Orleans, it owns stations in three other Louisiana markets (Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles) and in nearby Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss.
Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, bought the station from Emmis Communications in 2008 for $41 million.
In a statement, Benson said that he bought WVUE at a point “when the station did not have other viable suitors” and that he worked to re-establish it as a “premier news entity” in New Orleans.
“With the ever-changing media landscape, we believe it is in the best interest of the station to sell and transfer control to our media partners at Raycom,” Benson said. “They have been a great partner over the last few years and have shown remarkable dedication and commitment to our community.”