The Baltimore-based broadcast group has closed its private offering of $550 million worth of senior unsecured notes due in 2024 and will use that money, along with $400 million in loans, to buy Allbritton. The station group reportedly cleared the last hurdle blocking approval of the deal last week by agreeing to a settlement with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
Seeing the writing on the wall at the Federal Communications Commission, Sinclair Broadcast Group said late Thursday it would restructure its deal to buy Allbritton’s TV group. As part of the restructuring, Sinclair will no longer propose to enter into shared service and joint sales agreements in three markets where it is adding ABC affiliates from Allbritton.
Young, Broadcasting, Allbritton, News Press-Gazette, Citadel and Cedar Rapids Television were among the broadcasters that successfully negotiated new retransmission consent contracts prior to year’s end.
The multicast network of classic TV shows signs stations from Allbritton, Media General and Raycom, bringing its U.S. clearance total to more than 60%.
The multi-year agreement covers Allbritton’s ABC affiliates in Washington; Harrisburg, Pa.; Lynchburg, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to its Washington cable news channel.
Allbritton’s TBD brand change illustrates a struggle in local TV today. Brands built on call letters and channel numbers may not translate well to digital platforms if you’re striving to grow a unique online experience that goes beyond an extension of TV.
The D.C. news site TBD.com, which is the online arm of Allbritton’s WJLA, announced yesterday that it will stop serving ads on partner blogs in its community network. The move is a bit of a surprise since several TV station and newspaper groups are pursuing community sales networks in other markets.