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KRON 4 for sale; Fox, NBC likely bidders

Young Broadcasting announced at noon today that it has hired advisors to help it put KRON 4 up for sale. Here’s the press release. Edward Atorino, a media analyst with Benchmark Co., told the Merc that KRON will draw multiple offers. “TV stations in the Bay Area are like beach front property,” said Atorino.

NBC, which wanted to buy KRON when it was for sale in 2000, might make another run at it, now that its value is diminished. Young bought the station for $823 million, a price based largely on the station’s NBC affiliation, which it lost a year later. NBC then bought KNTV Channel 11. FCC rules will allow NBC to buy a second station in the market if it is not one of the four top rated stations, which it is not.

“NBC could buy it and make the San Francisco station the affiliate. Or maybe they would want both stations to be affiliates,” James Goss, an analyst with Barrington Research, told the Merc.

Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., does not own a San Francisco station and might also be interested in KRON. Channel 2’s Fox affiliation contract expires in a couple of years.

“Generally, networks like to own their affiliates, especially affiliates in the largest markets,” Goss said. KTVU still has a network affiliation with Fox whose term won’t expire for a few years.

Young hopes to have a deal to sell Channel 4 by the end of the first quarter.

[Chron story] [Broadcasting & Cable: Young reports ‘high level of interest’ in KRON] [MarketWatch]

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