News Corp. Divests More TV Properties, Station Sale Follows DirecTV, TV Guide

by , Dec 24, 2007, 7:45 AM
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Is News Corp. becoming a publishing centric media conglomerate? That appears to be a pattern emerging following Saturday's announcement that the company would divest of eight U.S. television stations to private equity firm Oak Hill Partners for about $1.1 billion. The divestiture, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, follows News Corp.'s deal to acquire print and online publisher Dow Jones & Co. for $5 billion, and moves to liquidate other TV assets, including stakes in DirecTV and Gemstar TV Guide.

While the deal with Oak Hill Capital Partners will still leave News Corp. with 27 owned-and-operated stations, nine duopolies in major markets as well as single stations in nine mid- to large-sized markets, the sale comes as conventional television broadcasters face the transition from analog to digital broadcasting in early 2009, and as online media begins to compete more aggressively with traditional television programming.

It also follows recent moves that would reduce News Corp.'s position in television, even as it expands its stake in online and print media via the acquisition of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

Last year, News Corp. agreed to a deal to swap its controlling stake of satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV to Liberty Media in exchange for Liberty's minority stake in News Corp. And earlier this month, News Corp. - a 41% stakeholder in Gemstar TV Guide - blessed a deal that would sell the TV listings guide and television network to Macrovision.

Stations being divested in the Oak Hill sales include:


*WJW in Cleveland, OH
*KDVR in Denver, CO
*KTVI in St. Louis, MO
*WDAF in Kansas City, MO
*WITI in Milwaukee, WI
*KSTU in Salt Lake City, UT
*WBRC in Birmingham, AL
*WGHP in Greensboro, NC

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