Newspaper Publisher Media General Buys 4 NBC TV Stations

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Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Media General Inc. said Thursday it has signed an agreement with NBC Universal to purchase four NBC television stations for $600 million in cash, in a bid to boost its presence in the Southeast.

The four stations are: WNCN in Raleigh, N.C., WCMH in Columbus, Ohio, WVTM in Birmingham, Ala. and WJAR in Providence, R.I.

Media General said it will finance the transaction using a $1 billion bank facility, $100 million of new public debt and about $150 million in proceeds from asset sales.

The transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter.

Media General said it does not expect the acquisitions to boost its earnings in the first few years, but anticipates they will be “significant contributors” to its earnings over time.

The company said it will sell its CBS affiliates in Birmingham, Ala., KWCH in Wichita, Kan., which includes the station’s three satellites, KIMT in Mason City, Iowa, and WDEF in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Media General is required to sell the stations based on rules set by the Federal Communications Commission. The company said it will divest the assets by the end of this year.

Shares of Media General closed Wednesday at $45.85.

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