There’s a big change coming in Los Angeles television as KTLA, the city’s first commercial station, will be under new ownership as part of a multi-billion dollar deal to sell 42 TV stations across the United States.
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the country’s biggest TV station ownership group, announced Monday it will be acquiring Tribune Media Co. and its 42 TV stations, including KTLA in Los Angeles, for $3.9 billion plus the assumption of about $2.7 billion in debt.
KTLA started commercial broadcasting in 1947 as the pioneer of local TV in Los Angeles. It was only the eighth TV commercial station to start operations in the United States.
The station gained nationwide fame when it broadcast live the frantic failed rescue attempts and tragic 1949 death of Kathy Fiscus, a little girl who fell into a well. A young reporter named Stan Chambers rose to fame with that story, and he remained at KTLA through his entire career.
The Tribune-Sinclair deal, which must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, would give Sinclair a presence in the top three TV markets — KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in New York and WGN in Chicago. Tribune has owned KTLA since 1985.
Tribune shareholders are to receive $35 and 0.23 of a share of Sinclair common stock per share of Tribune stock; based on Fridayís closing price, thatís a total value of $43.50 a share, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” Sinclair President and Chief Executive Chris Ripley said in a statement.
Sinclair, based in the Baltimore area, already owns 139 TV stations in 33 markets across the U.S., many of them affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW.
Tribune, based in Chicago, is the former parent company of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The two newspapers and other Tribune publications were spun off into a company now named Tronc Inc. in 2014.
—City News Service