Acme TV sets $115 million IPO

Group nearly $200 mil in debt

Acme Television, the TV station group owned in part by WB Network chief Jamie Kellner, plans to raise as much as $115 million in a first-time stock sale later this year.

Acme filed a statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday detailing plans for the initial public offering. The filing said Santa Ana, Calif.-based Acme will rename itself Acme Communications after the stock sale.

Acme, formed in 1996, owns nine WB Network affils in medium- to small-sized TV markets, including St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; and Albuquerque, N.M. It ranks as the third-largest station affiliate group in the WB Network fold, behind Tribune Broadcasting (a co-owner of the WB Network) and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Kellner, who also has a minority interest in the WB along with Time Warner and Tribune, owns 5.2% of Acme, but it’s unclear how much that stake will be diluted by the stock sale. Details of the number of Acme shares to be offered in the sale will be released in a supplemental filing.

Financial data disclosed in the filing revealed that Acme is carrying a heavy debt load of nearly $200 million. For the three months ended March 31, Acme reported a net loss of $9.3 million on revenue of $11.1 million.

The filing said Acme would use the IPO proceeds primarily to pay off debt and fund the acquisition of its New Mexico TV station.

(Bloomberg Business News contributed to this report.)

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