ACME Communications Inc. has cut a deal to sell two of its TV stations for
$275 million in cash, giving Tribune Broadcasting Inc. two additional WB
Television Network affiliates and virtually eliminating ACME's debt.
ACME signed definitive agreements to sell KPLR-TV St. Louis and KWBP-TV
Tribune and ACME have long had a
ACME chairman Jamie Kellner is also chairman and co-founder of The WB, of
which Tribune owns 25 percent.
ACME was created to buy small WB affiliates or start ones in markets where
they didn't exist.
The St. Louis station is by far the more valuable, with $210 million of the
purchase price allocated to it.
Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. TV analyst Keith Fawcett estimated that the price values the
station at 12.5 times 2002 operating cash flow.
After the sale and the pending takeover of WBUW-TV Madison, Wis., ACME will
own nine TV stations -- eight WB affiliates and one UPN affiliate.
These are not duopoly plays for Tribune.
The deal will mark the broadcaster's first entry into these markets and will
give it 26 stations, 19 of them WB affiliates.