(AP) Media giant Tribune Co. announced Monday it has agreed to buy television stations in St. Louis and in Portland, Ore., for $275 million.
The purchase of KPLR-TV in St. Louis and KWBP-TV in Portland from Acme Communications will bring to 26 the number of stations the company owns and operates.
The St. Louis station is in the nation’s 22nd largest television market, and Portland is the nation’s 23rd. With the purchase, Tribune will own and operate stations in 18 of the country’s top 30 markets. Both stations are in the WB Network, and their purchase will bring to 19 the number of WB stations owned and operated by the Tribune Co.
“As large market WB affiliates, these two stations will fit extremely well into our television group,” said company President and Chief Operating Officer Dennis FitzSimons. “This is consistent with our strategy and objective of extending Tribune’s reach to serve local viewers and advertisers in top 30 markets.”
The purchase will increase the Tribune Co.’s share of U.S. households to nearly 30% by Federal Communications Commission standards.
The Tribune Co. will acquire the stock of KPLR for cash and the purchase of KWBP will be structured as a tax-deferred asset exchange partially paid for with money from the sale of the Tribune’s Denver radio stations and cash. That sale took place in December 2001.
The purchases are expected to be completed in March 2003.
Besides the television stations, Tribune’s holdings include 12 daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
In afternoon trading Monday, shares of Tribune rose 93 cents to $45.40 on the New York Stock Exchange. Acme shares advanced 63 cents to $7.91 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.