Deal gives Gannett a duopoly with its NBC affiliate there, WXIA.
Tribune Company today announced that it has completed the sale of WATL Atlanta (ch. 36, WB) to Gannett Co. for $180 million in cash. The deal gives Gannett a duopoly in the ninth-largest mark. It already owns the market’s NBC affiliate, WXIA.
Tribune acquired a minority stake in WATL in 1995 and obtained full ownership of the station in 2000 as part of its acquisition of Qwest Broadcasting.
The sale of WATL is part of Tribune’s performance improvement plan announced May 30. The plan includes at least $500 million in asset sales and approximately $300 million has been identified so far. In addition to WATL, Tribune last month sold 2.8 million shares of Time Warner common stock for net proceeds of approximately $46 million. In June, the company announced the sale of WCWN Albany, N.Y., for $17 million. Bids are now being received for the San Fernando property where a Los Angeles Times printing facility was closed earlier this year.