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Sinclair Broadcast Group Adds Station Heft With Fisher Communications Buy

Deal gives nation's largest indie broadcast group 20 outlets in mid- and small-sized markets

Sinclair Broadcast Group is adding some large-market heft to its station holdings with a $373.3 million deal to acquire Seattle-based Fisher Communications.

The cash buyout will give Sinclair, the nation’s largest indie broadcast group, 20 more stations in eight markets, including Seattle-Tacoma (the nation’s 12th-largest market) and Portland, Ore. (No. 22). Pact also includes Fisher’s three radio stations in Seattle. Absorbing Fisher will give Sinclair broader reach in the Western U.S. At present most of its stations are clustered in the Midwest and Northeast, although it does own the CW affil in Las Vegas.

“We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward,” said Sinclair CEO David Smith. “Started in 1910, Fisher’s history of operating television and radio stations in the northwest corner of the U.S. has played an important role in its communities and in producing high-quality local news. We look forward to expanding upon those traditions and improving the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.”

Deal is subject to FCC approval but is expected to close in the third quarter. With the Fisher buy, Sinclair’s arsenal of stations will expand to 134 outlets in 69 markets. It will reach 33.7% of U.S. television households.

Sinclair’s clout is magnified by not only its size but also its relationships with each of the major English-lingo broadcast nets and Univision. Its holdings encompass 29 Fox affils, 20 MyNetwork affils, 21 with CW, 19 with ABC, 24 with CBS, 14 with NBC, 5 with Univision, one independent and one Azteca station.

The Fisher stations in the deal are:

KOMO ABC/This TV Seattle-Tacoma, WA 12
KUNS Univision/Mundo Fox Seattle-Tacoma, WA 12
KATU ABC/Me TV Portland, OR 22
KUNP Univision/Mundo Fox Portland, OR 22
KLEW CBS Spokane, WA 73
KBOI CBS/CW Boise, ID 111
KYUU CW Boise, ID 111
KVAL CBS/This TV Eugene, OR 121
KCBY CBS Eugene, OR 121
KPIC CBS Eugene, OR 121
KMTR3 NBC/CW Eugene, OR 121
KMCB3 NBC Eugene, OR 121
KTCW3 NBC Eugene, OR 121
KIMA CBS/CW Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA 123
KEPR CBS/CW Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA 123
KUNW Univision Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA 123
KVVK Univision Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA 123
KORX Univision Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA 123
KBAK CBS Bakersfield, CA 126
KBFX FOX/This TV Bakersfield, CA 126
KIDK CBS/FOX Idaho Falls-Pocatello, ID 160
KXPI FOX Idaho Falls-Pocatello, ID 160

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