Jeff Smulyan is shopping hard to expand Emmis Communications, according to sources, bidding about $535 million for Lee Enterprise's nine TV stations: four CBS affiliates, three NBC and one each ABC and Telemundo.
Also said to be bidding are The New York Times Co. and LIN Television. The two may be working together on a bid.
Lee likely would get more by selling its stations individually, but "Emmis may pay more than anybody because they want an addition" to their group, one source said.
Emmis already owns one CBS affiliate, along with five FOX affils and one WB. A Lee spokesman said a deal is expected any day.