WJAC has new owner

From Mirror staff reports

WJAC-TV, Johnstown, is one of four television stations being purchased by Baltimore, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.

Sinclair has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the stock and broadcast assets of four television stations owned by Cox Media Group – including WJAC-TV – for $99 million less $4.3 million of working capital adjustments.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and antitrust clearance. The company anticipates the transaction will close in the second quarter of 2013, subject to closing conditions.

Kevin Hayes, WJAC vice president and general manager, said he doesn’t anticipate any significant changes at the station, which has been owned by Cox since 2000.

“I don’t think there will be any major changes. The WJAC brand is very strong, and no one bought it to tear it down. The team at WJAC has always done a good job,” Hayes said. “We have a full staff of about 68, I don’t anticipate losing any head count.”

Over the past 18 months, Sinclair has led the industry’s consolidation efforts in the mid-sized markets, purchasing 30 TV stations and creating more than $400 million of equity value, said David Smith, Sinclair president and CEO, in a press release.

“We believe there are many more opportunities to acquire quality assets and to unlock hidden value, including in the smaller markets, such as where the CMG stations operate. We believe our platform size and leadership position allow us to bring meaningful purchasing power and negotiating leverage to these stations,” Smith said in a statement.

Cox Media Group is in the process of a broadcast realignment focusing on larger markets, cross-media collaboration and heightened impact in fewer markets, according to a company press release.