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Hearst will again try to take TV stations private

Hearst plans to make another run at taking its TV station group private. It now owns 82 percent of Hearst Argyle Television Inc., a 29-station group covering 18 percent of the country.

In 2007, Hearst offered $600 million for the shares it didn’t already own. But the shareholders decided to hold out for more money and Hearst walked away.

Since then, the company’s value has fallen by about 90 percent and the new deal is for about one-fifth of the 2007 offer.

One of the biggest shareholders is Private Capital Management, the fund headed by Bruce Sherman who forced Knight Ridder to sell off its newspapers in 2006. Sherman is retiring this month after a series of bad bets on media companies that have cost his investors billions. The Wall Street Journal tried to reach Sherman without success.

Hearst Argyle’s stations include KCRA Channel 3 in Sacramento (helicopter seen here), WCVB Boston, KMBC Kansas City, WLWT Cincinnati, KOAT Albuquerque and KITV Honolulu. (Photo credit: Hearst Argyle Web site)

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