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Emmis Sells Nine TV Stations for $681M

(Posted August 23, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Emmis Communications Corp. said Monday it will sell nine of its 16 television stations in transactions worth a total of $681 million.

The largest of the deals has the Indianapolis-based company selling five stations to Providence, R.I.-based LIN TV Corp. for $260 million. They are: WTHI in Terre Haute, Ind.; WALA and WBPG in Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla.; WLUK in Green Bay, Wis., and KRQE in Albuquerque, N.M.

Emmis will sell three stations WFTX in Fort Myers, Fla.; KMTV in Omaha, Neb., and KGUN in Tucson, Ariz. to Milwaukee-based Journal Communications for $235 million.

Gray Television Inc., of Atlanta, will buy WSAZ in Huntington/Charleston, W.Va., from Emmis for $186 million.

Emmis shares jumped $1.98, or 9.2 percent, to close at $23.58 Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, topping their previous 52-week high of $21.95.

The company's stock price has gone up about 50 percent since hitting its year-low of $15.29 in May, just before Emmis announced plans to sell the TV stations to lower its debt.

"We wanted to do what was right to get the best price for our shareholders, while providing our employees who have consistently been among the best operators in the industry with the best possible new owners," Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement Monday.

The station transactions are all subject to regulatory approval, but Emmis said the deals were expected to close by the end of the year.

Emmis continues to seek buyers for its seven other television stations. The company also owns 23 FM and two AM radio stations in the United States, as well as several city magazines.

Source: Yahoo! News

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