Programming

News Corp. Unloads Eight Stations to Oak Hill

$1.1B Cash Deal Raises Private-Equity Firm’s Broadcast Profile 12/24/2007 01:44:00 AM Eastern

News Corp. is selling eight of its owned-and-operated Fox stations to private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners for $1.1 billion in cash.

The deal, stealthily announced Saturday, will leave News Corp. with 27 O&O stations and solidifies the broadcast presence of Oak Hill, one of several large private-equity firms that have been targeting the call-letter-station market over the past year.

Oak Hill, controlled by oil heir Robert Bass, bought nine midsized stations from The New York Times Co. for $575 million earlier this year.

The News Corp. deal with Oak Hill includes a mix of large- and midsized-market stations: WJW Cleveland; KDVR Denver; KTVI St. Louis; WDAF Kansas City, Mo.; WITI Milwaukee; KSTU Salt Lake City; WBRC Birmingham, Ala.; and WGHP Greensboro, N.C.

News Corp. will be left with nine duopolies in major markets, as well as single stations in nine midsized to large-sized markets.

The sale, subject to regulatory and other customary conditions, is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2008. News Corp. was advised by investment bank Allen & Co. and law firm Hogan & Hartson in the transaction.

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