NBC U sells KWHY to Meruelo Group

Sale of Spanish-lingo station spurred by Comcast merger

NBC Universal is selling Spanish-language independent KWHY-TV Los Angeles to the investment firm Meruelo Group.

Sale, announced Wednesday, is subject to approval by the FCC, but it was anticipated since Comcast announced in December 2009 that it was acquiring a majority stake in NBC U.

Congloms are prohibited from owning more than two stations in the same market, but NBC U also owns KNBC-TV and Telemundo station KVEA-TV and had operated under a temporary waiver to retain all three. Comcast and NBC U had said that they would sell the station before their union was completed, expected at the end of this month.

“As one of the oldest independent Spanish-language television stations in the U.S., KWHY is a station with a great history, and an ongoing mission to serve a vibrant and growing community,” said Alex Meruelo, CEO of Meruelo Group, which has holdings in real estate, banking, construction and restaurants including the La Pizza Loca chain.

He added that the purchase will make KWHY the only Latino-owned station in Los Angeles.

As the sale goes through the regulatory process, expected to be completed by mid-year, the station will be placed in the Bahia Honda divestiture trust, managed by Jose Cancela. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

During the review process for the Comcast-NBC U transaction, both companies said they would seek out a minority-controlled ownership group to purchase the station.

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