CW Affil Worth $217 Mil In Orlando


The price of a CW affiliate has been set in the nation's 20th largest market: $217 million in cash.

Hearst-Argyle is buying WKCF-TV Orlando from Emmis for that ammount, subject to FCC approval.

Hearst-Argyle already own WESH-TV there, so it will now have a duopoly in the nation's 20th market.

WKCF is a WB and soon-to-be CW affiliate. The company now has duopolies in five of its seven biggest markets, four TV duopolies and one radio-TV. Opportunities for duopolies in top markets like Orlando don't come up often under today's FCC rules, said H-A spokesman Tom Campo.

For its part, Emmis is divesting its TV properties to concentrate in radio. Analysts estimate  the purchase price comes to about 13 times cash flow, but under 10 when factoring in tax benefits for the all-cash deal.

Emmis does not plan to part with two related Orlando assets. The company says it will retain its 50% stake in syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz, co-owned with ACME Communications and produced at WKCF. In addition, Emmis will retain the WKCF building, which houses The Daily Buzz’s studio.

Also Monday, Emmis unveiled a stock buyback proposal that would give founder and Chairman Jeff Smulyan full control of the company.  Under the proposal, Smulyan’s corporation, ECC Acquisition, would buy back outstanding shares at $15.25 per share, a 13.6% premium over the stock’s closing price last Friday.  

Emmis’ board of directors has formed a special committee of independent directors to review the proposal and make a recommendation to shareholders, who must approve any buy back.

Smulyan currently controls about 16.9% of Emmis.