LIN wins bid for two Viacom UPN affils

TV Corp. creates a duopoly in Indianapolis

NEW YORK — Viacom has agreed to sell UPN affiliates WWHO Columbus, Ohio, and WNDY Indianapolis to LIN TV Corp. for $85 million in cash.

Providence, R.I.-based LIN TV was willing to pay a high price to achieve a duopoly in Indianapolis, where it already owns the CBS affil.

Viacom will be sheltered from taxes on the deal if it closes within six months of its Sacramento station purchase, which gave the conglom a duopoly in that city.

Viacom closed on two other stations earlier this year, creating a duopoly in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Station owners covet duopolies, and are willing to pay a premium to acquire them, because they can cut costs out of the business with shared back-office and broadcast facilities.

Analysts expect Viacom to shed more underperforming TV stations as well as radio stations as it pares down its radio biz to focus on the top 20 markets.

Meanwhile, Viacom’s CBS network this week signed seven Raycom Media-owned affiliates to long-term deals.

Deals cover Raycom stations in Cleveland, the nation’s 16th-largest market; Richmond, Va.; and Tucson, Ariz.

“CBS’ status as the top-rated network provided the impetus to our decision to sign these new multiyear affiliation deals,” said Raycom topper Paul McTear.

As a group, Raycom’s CBS affiliates reach 3.85 million U.S. TV households. Deal includes stations in Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Shreveport and Baton Rouge, La.; and Savannah, Ga.

Raycom, based in Montgomery, Ala., owns 39 television stations.

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