Industry watchers say the equity firm’s quiet decision to sell its TV stations in Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo suggests a bearish market for the spectrum that will be auction in the upcoming FCC auction. Reuters reports Blackstone sold the stations for about $24 million to HME Equity Fund II.
The information includes a market-by-market compilation of data the FCC has released concerning opening bid prices and high-end estimated payouts.
FCC chair Tom Wheeler said he’s optimistic that spectrum auctions would begin in early 2016 as planned, though he was “disappointed that the broadcasters have slowed things down by filing suit.” NAB’s Dennis Wharton denied it. “Our lawsuit is narrowly targeted, and we are seeking an expedited review to make it happen quickly,” he said. “If we wanted to delay the auction, we wouldn’t have put it on the fast track.”