Tribune Broadcasting is set to acquire the Fox affiliate station in Seattle for around $370 million in a three-way transaction with Kelly Broadcasting and Meredith Corp.
The deal comes on the heels of last week’s sale of Kelly’s other TV station, NBC affil KCRA Sacramento, to Hearst-Argyle Television for an eye-popping $520 million.
Under the terms of the complex Tribune deal, Meredith Corp. will buy Kelly’s Fox affil KCPQ Seattle for $370 million. Meredith will then swap KCPQ to Tribune for Tribune’s CBS affiliate in Atlanta, WGNX. The deal also calls for Tribune to pay Meredith a small amount of cash.
Tribune and Meredith to will see some tax savings from handling the deal as a swap. Tribune also may have run into roadblocks in completing a straight transaction with Kelly as Tribune already owns a TV station in Seattle, which it will now have to sell, per federal regulations barring ownership of more than one TV station in a market.
Tribune acquired WB affil KTZZ Seattle late last year, as part of a separate TV and radio station swap with Emmis Broadcasting. With KCPQ in the bag, Tribune will look to swap KTZZ for another major market WB affiliate, or it may try to keep KTZZ in the family through a sale tied to a local marketing agreement with KCPQ.
Tribune was willing to swap its CBS affil in Atlanta because the majority of its other 18 stations are WB and Fox affiliates. Although Tribune owns nearly 25% of the WB, Tribune was ready to sacrifice its existing Seattle WB affil because Kelly’s KCPQ is a much more profitable station than KTZZ.