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Chron call NBC’s blusters; bids still on

B'caster declines network's exclusivity request

In the first round of negotiations for Chronicle Broadcasting’s San Francisco outlet KRON-TV, NBC blinked.

On Thursday morning, Chronicle declined NBC’s request that the Peacock network be allowed a 30-day exclusive negotiation period to make a play for KRON.

In submitting its approximately $700 million bid, NBC had told Chronicle it would drop its play for KRON if the stipulation was denied.

But NBC reversed course after Chronicle’s decision and said it was still in the running for the highly sought-after station.

“We have no negotiating agreement, but we have decided to stay in discussions with them,” an NBC spokeswoman said.

Bids were originally due Thursday for KRON, the highest-profile TV station to hit the market in years. But sources said Chronicle has extended the deadline into next week.

A sale at the $700 million level would be one of the most expensive ever for a broadcast station, though some analysts originally thought the station might fetch an even higher price.

NBC chief Bob Wright recently informed investment firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (hired earlier this year by Chronicle Publishing Co., parent of Chronicle Broadcasting, to handle the sale of the company) that KRON could lose its affiliation or face other consequences if the station is sold to any company other than NBC.

Besides NBC, Fox, Gannett, Young Broadcasting and Belo have been discussed as possible suitors for KRON.

Chronicle and DLJ executives did not return phone calls.

Besides KRON, the package also includes Bay TV, Chronicle’s regional news cable channel in the Bay Area. Chronicle’s WOWT-TV in Omaha, Neb., and KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kan., are being sold separately.

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