Raycom Media Inc. announced its intention yesterday to sell 12 television stations, including Toledo s WNWO-TV, Channel 24.
The announcement came less than 10 weeks after Raycom said it would buy Liberty Corp., which owns WTOL-TV, Channel 11. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Federal rules generally prohibit one company from owning two TV stations in a market the size of Toledo.
You have to pick one, and we picked one. This was a tough decision, said Tom Henson, president of Bellmoro Corporate Advisors, which is advising Raycom on the deal.
Toledo is one of four markets where Raycom and Liberty each own a station. The others are Columbia, S.C., Albany, Ga., and Wilmington, N.C.
Paul McTear, Raycom president and chief executive officer, said the 12 stations, with more than 800 employees, would likely be valued in excess of $600 million. Mr. Henson said the stations will be offered as a package, but Raycom will entertain offers for individual stations and small groups.
Mr. Henson said he expects WNWO, an NBC affiliate, to be sold in three to six months, max.
Raycom purchased WNWO from Malrite Communications in 1998.
The stations being sold are in nine states, including outlets in Marquette, Traverse City, and Cadillac, Mich.