Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clear Channel Finds Buyer for Its TV Division; Two Jacksonville Stations Part of 56 a R.I. Company Bought for $1.2 Billion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clear Channel Finds Buyer for Its TV Division; Two Jacksonville Stations Part of 56 a R.I. Company Bought for $1.2 Billion

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BASCH

Clear Channel Communications Inc. Friday announced a deal to sell its television division, including Jacksonville stations WAWS TV-30 and WTEV TV-47, to a Providence, R.I., investment firm that specializes in media and entertainment companies.

Providence Equity Partners Inc. agreed to pay $1.2 billion to buy Clear Channel's group of 56 television stations in 24 cities, including 18 digital multicast stations. Clear Channel put the stations up for sale in November when it agreed to sell the entire company to a private investment group. The sale of the TV stations is not contingent on the sale of the company.

Providence Equity manages about $21 billion in six equity funds. It holds significant investment stakes in companies such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Warner Music Group and Univision Communications Inc.

"This is a rare opportunity to acquire a premier collection of broadcast television stations with strong positions in many attractive markets across the United States," said a statement by Al Dobron, a managing director of Providence.

Providence did not give details on any plans for the television stations. "These are well-run, quality television stations," said a statement by Sandy DiPasquale, a broadcasting executive who will run the television group for Providence. He added that he is looking forward to working with Clear Channel employees "to build on their success integrating broadcast and Internet services to serve their communities."

A Providence spokesman said Friday that company officials would not comment further on the deal.

Local Clear Channel officials referred questions about Friday's announcement to the company's corporate headquarters in San Antonio.

Clear Channel actually operates three Jacksonville television stations. In addition to Fox affiliate WAWS and CBS affiliate WTEV, the company launched a digital multicast station in January that is affiliated with the Variety Television Network and available to viewers with digital television receivers. …

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