There will soon be one less ownership group in Michigan television with today's announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group will be purchasing Freedom Communications for $385 million pending government and shareholder approvals and closing. The deal includes a total of eight TV stations in Michigan, Florida, Texas, New York, Tennessee, and Oregon that reach 2.63% of the U.S. TV households.
Freedom currently owns CBS affiliate WWMT-TV Ch. 3 in the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo market along with ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV Ch. 53 in the Lansing market. Sinclair's Michigan station is Flint's FOX affiliate WSMH-TV Ch. 66. The deal also includes the CW affiliates on the .2 subchannels of WWMT and WLAJ.
"We are excited about bringing the Freedom stations into the Sinclair portfolio, particularly in light of our recent agreement to acquire seven television stations from Four Points Media," commented David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. "Not only will this transaction, when coupled with the Four Points transaction, result in us owning two full power stations in compliance with FCC regulations in West Palm Beach, Freedom's largest market, but it allows us to expand our middle market position and network diversification. We believe our expertise and presence will enable us to improve the stations' competitive position and profitability. We look forward to welcoming the Freedom employees to the Sinclair family."
"We believe this transaction will benefit both companies and our respective viewers, advertisers and the communities we serve," commented Mitchell Stern, Freedom Communications' Chief Executive Officer. "We anticipate a smooth transition for the Freedom stations as they become part of one of the leading U.S. broadcasting companies."