Hard Knoxville

Judge blocks sale of WPMC to Paxson

NEW YORK — When Lowell (Bud) Paxson, chairman of Paxson Communications, announces the details of his seventh broadcast network made up of family-oriented-series reruns on Nov. 18, his TV stations, which now number more than 60, will be minus one outlet: WPMC Knoxville.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction that will stop Paxson from buying WPMC. The judge, Prudence Carter Beatty of New York, ruled that Paxson tried to interfere with the auction of WPMC and five other TV stations either owned or about to be bought by the bankrupt Global Broadcasting.

The auction, set for Nov. 19 in New York, will go ahead as scheduled, and Jim Coppersmith, the bankruptcy trustee, says he’s inviting Paxson to join other interested parties in the bidding for WPMC.

The Global TV stations going up for bids are KCNS San Francisco and WRAY Raleigh-Durham, plus four stations Global was in the process of buying: WOAC Cleveland, KNWS Houston, WBSV Sarasota and the station in question, WPMC.

Coppersmith says a company called Shop At Home has already offered what he calls a stalking-horse bid of $53 million for all of Global’s assets.

Frank Higney, the media broker for Kalil & Co., says the auctioneer will first make a preliminary offer of the six stations in one big package for one overall price. Then the auctioneer will place each station on the block separately, and add up the six individual winning bids. It’ll be up to the trustees, Higney says, to choose the best deal at a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here on Nov. 20 to approve the sale.

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