Sinclair Broadcast says it has agreed to purchase the Allbritton stations for $985 million.
The biggest station in the group is WJLA in DC.
"We are thrilled to add the Allbritton properties to our growing portfolio and national footprint," commented David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. "To buy a full-blown news operation in our nation's capital and an infrastructure that allows us to be connected to our branches of government and be at the pulse of national issues is a once-in-a lifetime event. We are especially excited to acquire the NewsChannel 8 local news channel, not only for the content it can provide our existing news stations, but moreover because their regional cable presence provides the perfect platform should we decide to expand it into other markets, especially given the amount of local news we produce across our entire portfolio."
As one WJLA staffer who emailed FTVLive put it "We're all screwed!"
The company anticipates that the transaction will close and fund in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The Allbritton stations to be owned and operated by Sinclair are:
- WJLA ABC Washington (DMA 8)
- WBMA-LP ABC Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston, Ala. (DMA 42)
- WCFT ABC Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston, Ala. (DMA 42)
- WJSU ABC Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston, Ala. (DMA 42)
- WHTM ABC Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa (DMA 43)
- KATV ABC Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark. (DMA 56)
- KTUL ABC Tulsa, Okla. (DMA 59)
- WSET ABC Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va. (DMA 68)
- WCIV ABC Charleston, S.C. (DMA 98)