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Byron Allen Expands Into Broadcasting, Buys 4 TV Stations for $165 Million

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has struck a deal to buy four small-market TV stations from Bayou City Broadcasting for $165 million.

Entertainment Studios announced the Bayou City deal on the heels of Friday’s news that Allen has joined with Sinclair Broadcast Group in the $10.6 billion acquisition of 21 regional sports networks that Disney was required to sell in order to acquire other 21st Century Fox assets.

Allen joined Sinclair as an equity partner in the newly established Diamond Holdings venture that will house the RSNs.Entertainment Studios is buying two Bayou City stations in Evansville, Ind.: the CBS affiliate WEVV-TV and Fox affiliate WEEV-TV. In Lafayette, La., Allen is picking up NBC affil KLAF-TV and Fox affil KADN-TV.

The TV station purchases mark an expansion for Entertainment Studios which operates nine cable channels including Weather Channel. The company, privately held solely by Allen, also has a film production and distribution arm. The TV stations will be held through the Allen Media Broadcasting unit.

Allen said he is looking to buy more stations. Adding network affiliates to his portfolio makes Allen a bigger player with MVPDs as Entertainment Studios will now have local TV stations to leverage as it seeks carriage deals with MVPDs. It’s undoubtedly no accident that Allen purchased stations affiliated with networks that have football rights packages, a hugely valuable asset for station owners when it comes to setting retransmission consent deals with MVPDs.

Entertainment Studios at present has chilly relations with the largest MVPDs because Allen has filed lawsuits alleging that racial discrimination against his company. Litigation is pending against Comcast and Charter Communications.

Although the four stations serve small markets, the Bayou City deal also puts Allen in business with three of the Big Four networks.

Allen praised Bayou City owner and CEO DuJuan McCoy in announcing the deal. “DuJuan McCoy is an outstanding broadcaster and he has done a phenomenal job of assembling a strong management team to operate these network affiliate stations,” said Allen. “This is another milestone for our company, as we have now agreed to purchase our very first broadcast television stations and continue to look for other opportunities to grow our global media company through strategic acquisitions.”

McCoy said Allen’s companies “are perfectly positioned to continue the strong tradition these stations have in serving their communities.”

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