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Tribune to acquire Qwest, creating Big Easy duopoly

Co. to own 21 stations after $90-100 mil deal closes

Tribune will acquire minority-owned Qwest Broadcasting in a $90 million-$100 million transaction that will give it a duopoly in New Orleans.

Qwest owns WB affils WATL Atlanta and WNOL New Orleans, where Tribune already owns ABC affil WGNO. Tribune Broadcasting president Dennis FitzSimons said the company will file the duopoly with the FCC on Nov. 16.

Tribune will also file for a previously announced duopoly in Seattle, where it owns WB affil KTWB and recently acquired Fox affil KCPQ.

Tribune already owned 33% of Qwest, which is owned by a group of investors led by chairman Quincy Jones. Qwest was formed in 1995 when Jones traded his stake in WNOL to form a partnership with Tribune that then also acquired WATL.

“With the rapid escalation of broadcast station values in major markets, the Qwest partners have decided to capture some of that value,” Qwest vice chairman Willie Davis said. “As active members of the industry, several of the partners plan to look for additional media ownership opportunities.”

Qwest partners also include Geraldo Rivera, Don Cornelius and Sonia Gonsalves Salzman.

Including all pending acquisitions, Tribune will own 21 stations, including nine WB affiliates in the top 11 markets.

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