The billion dollar deal to sell 24 of the 29 Newport TV stations may close as early as this week, says a person familiar with terms of the negotiations. Nexstar stands to acquire the largest amount of the 24 stations, with Sinclair taking the second biggest batch, followed by Cox.
That will leave five stations in the Newport group. The insider said Newport, and parent Providence Equity Partners, are in talks with interested parties for all or part of that final group.
The deal with the three aforementioned broadcasters will come in at just over a billion dollars, says the insider.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the players, and terms, of the deal. The insider said the report was "roughly accurate."
Executives from Newport, Nexstar, Cox and Sinclair did not comment on the would-be sale.
Headed up by broadcast vet Sandy DiPasquale, Newport TV came to be after Providence Equity Partners acquired the former Clear Channel group in 2008 for $1.1 billion. That deal was held up in litigation, as both parties fought over the purchase price amidst the tanking U.S. economy. Both had initially agreed on a $1.2 billion price tag.
Providence Equity Partners began exploring a sale in the spring of 2011. Newport has 29 stations, including WXXA Albany and WKRC Cincinnati, and 27 more digital multicasts. Newport also owns Inergize Digital.