Sunbeam Buys WLVI From Tribune

Just days after the New York Times Co. said it would sell its nine local TV stations, Tribune Co. announced it has sold its Boston CW affiliate. Sunbeam Television purchased WLVI for $113.7 million.

The sale is the latest move by Tribune in its plan to divest itself of $500 million in assets. So far, $420 million have been accounted for, including the sale of stations in Atlanta and Albany, N.Y.

The WLVI purchase gives Sunbeam a duopoly in Boston, where it already owns the NBC affiliate.

The deal was announced as Tribune said revenues for its TV assets (including 25 local stations) dropped 1.2 percent in August (to $90.7 million) compared to a year ago.

The company attributed the decline to softness in the retail and auto categories. Surprisingly, the decline comes in a congressional-election year, which usually bolsters revenues, a potential warning sign to Wall Street, though the company's stock price was unchanged yesterday. Earlier this week, the Times Co. said it would exit the local-station business and sell its nine network affiliates.



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