Local TV

Fox Stations Has Through March to Move on Option With Sinclair

Sale of WUTB Baltimore may be first act of multi-part play 11/30/2012 03:52:15 PM Eastern

With
Fox Television Stations agreeing to sell MyNetworkTV (MNT) O&O WUTB
Baltimore to Deerfield Media
, and Sinclair ironing out a shared services
agreement with Deerfield, Fox has until the end of March to move on an
acquisition option hammered out with Sinclair in May.

That pact, part of Sinclair's affiliation agreements with
Fox, saw Sinclair pay a maximum of $52.7 million to Fox "associated with
the Baltimore option and affiliation," which decreases by $25 million
should Fox exercise its option to purchase Sinclair-owned stations in up to
three markets: Raleigh (WRDC-WLFL, an MNT-CW combo), Las Vegas (KVMY-KVCW, also
a MNT-CW pair), Cincinnati (MNT affiliate WSTR), and Norfolk (MNT affiliate
WTVZ).

Fox's option expires March 31, 2013.

Caught off guard at the time by the announcement, the
arrangement made owners and managers in those four markets fearful of losing
their affiliation to Fox.
Owners are Raycom, Meredith, LIN and Capitol.

The May arrangement ensured that Sinclair would retain its
Fox affiliation at flagship WBFF Baltimore. "That was how we protected
ourselves," says David Amy, Sinclair CFO. "That was the best solution
we could come up with with Fox."

Amy said there was nothing to report in terms of Fox
Television Stations negotiating to pick up Sinclair properties in the four
agreed upon Sinclair markets.

A call to News Corp. about its intent in those markets was
not returned at presstime.

Amy does not envision local news coming to WUTB. "We
tried that with our CW [in Baltimore] and it didn't really work out," he
said. "We're really focused on our news efforts with the Fox
affiliate."

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