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Raycom Deal to Acquire WVUE New Orleans Appears to be Off the Table

In-house newsletter may have jumped the gun on phantom $56 million acquisition 10/09/2013 02:34:57 PM Eastern

The story appeared on the front page of The Advisor, in-house
publication of Raycom parent Retirement Systems of Alabama. Under the
headline "Raycom Media Expanding," it spoke of Raycom "expanding with
the proposed purchase of the FOX station in New Orleans for $55.6
million."

WVUE is owned by Louisiana Media Company, part of
entrepreneur Tom Benson's portfolio. Joe Cooke, president and general
manager, says no deal is pending. 

"Tom Benson really enjoys owning the station, and he's got a great one," he says. "It's not for sale." 

WDSU New Orleans first reported the Advisor story Oct. 7, prompting a swift denial from a Benson spokesperson.

Benson, who acquired WVUE from Emmis for $41 million in 2008, also owns the New Orleans Saints. "Fox 8" is his only TV station.

Raycom president/CEO Paul McTear did not return a call at presstime. 

Cooke
would not say what happened in the board room between Raycom and
Louisiana Media Company. Being a one-station group has its challenges in
the age of consolidation, but Cooke says New Orleans is full of
thriving mom and pops. "It's a big deal to be locally owned in New
Orleans," he says. "The town respects and loves locally owned efforts."

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