BONTEN CLOSES ON $230M BLUESTONE BUY

The new owner of 14 stations in eight, small markets is headed by former Emmis TV executive Randy Bongarten and backed by the Diamond Castle private equity fund. Seller Providence Equity has moved on to buy Clear Channel Television.

Bonten Media Group has closed on its $230-million purchase of the BlueStone Television, the company announced yesterday.

Newly formed Bonten is headed by former Emmis Television President Randy Bongarten and back by Diamond Castle Holdings, a New York-based private equity firm.

Bonten now owns or has joint sales and shared services agreements with 14 television stations (including three digital multicast stations) with multiple network affiliations in eight markets.

The markets include Tri-Cities in Tennessee and Virginia (DMA 92); Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C. (DMA 107); Chico-Redding, Calif. (DMA 130); Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas (DMA 164); Missoula, Mont. (DMA 168); Butte-Bozeman, Mont. (DMA 192); Eureka, Calif. (DMA 193); and San Angelo, Texas (DMA 197).

“We are thrilled to have completed the acquisition of BlueStone Television and look forward to working together with BlueStone’s talented employees as we embark upon the next stage in the history of this fine group of television stations,” said Bongarten in a prepared statement.

David Wittels, co-founder and senior managing director of Diamond Castle, said the BlueStone acquisition “underscores our fervent belief in the future of broadcast television” and indicated that Diamond Castle is in the hunt for more stations.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

“The BlueStone stations are a terrific group of assets to acquire as the first step toward achieving our goal to create one of the leaders in the television broadcast industry,” Wittels said.

Bonten acquired the group from Providence Equity Partners, another private equity firm. After announcing the sale of BlueStone, Providence turned around and cut a deal to acquire Clear Channel Television for $1.1 billion.

Managing Providence’s broadcasting investments is Sandy DiPasquale.


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