Potential suitors may include NBC

Young Broadcasting has put KRON-TV up for sale, in a move that could shake up the San Francisco TV market.

Young has retained financial advisors Moelis & Company to pursue a sale of KRON, which reps the largest outlet in the station group.

Potential suitors may include NBC, which has coveted the station for years and made a play for it in 2000, when Chronicle Broadcasting first put it up for sale. KRON was a heritage Peacock affiliate until 2001, when it couldn’t come to a new agreement.

Young dropped the affiliation after NBC demanded a number of concessions from the new owner (including reverse compensation payments of about $10 million a year).

Instead, Young reshaped KRON as a news-heavy independent – although the station was indeed hit with smaller ratings and revenue after dropping NBC in prime.

After KRON opted not to renew its deal with NBC, Granite Broadcasting agreed to pay the Peacock $362 million for a 10-year contract to put the network on its San Jose outlet KNTV.

NBC later purchased KNTV, and operates it as a San Francisco O&O. But given KRON’s history and power in the San Francisco market, Peacock may be willing to pursue it (and perhaps move Telemundo to KNTV).

Meanwhile, CBS could also be in the hunt. Eye already has a duopoly in San Francisco, but might be interested in moving its CW netlet from its UHF outlet to the more powerful KRON.

KRON is currently a MyNetworkTV affil.

“When we purchased KRON-TV in 2000 we believed we had acquired a jewel and we still feel that is the case today,” said Young Broadcasting chairman Vincent Young. “Our decision to sell is based on the high level of interest in the property that we have received. It is purely a strategic economic decision, allowing us to benefit from the proceeds of the sale to further our future corporate initiatives.”

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