Los Angeles-based Allen Media Broadcasting, headed by Weather Channel owner Byron Allen, is buying Lafayette television stations KADN and KLAF, along with two stations in Evansville, Ind.
The stock sale transaction for the four stations is valued at $165 million.
Bayou City Broadcasting, which purchased the two Lafayette stations, KADN-FOX/MyNet and KLAF-CD NBC, in early 2017 for $40 million, has owned and operated WEVV-CBS and WEEV-CD FOX in Evansville since January 2015. The company is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas.
Both Allen Media and Bayou City are privately held and minority-owned. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close within the next couple of months.
A former comedian (as a teen he wrote alongside David Letterman and Jay Leno), Allen founded his global media company, Entertainment Studios, in 1993, and bought The Weather Channel for $300 million last year. It operates eight other cable channels, and Allen is the sole owner of the company, which has additional offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Raleigh.
The four-station deal represents an expansion into broadcast television for Entertainment Studios and will be operated by the Allen Media Broadcasting division.
On Friday, parent company Entertainment Studios announced it was joining Sinclair Broadcast Group in a $10.6 billion acquisition of 21 regional sports networks that Disney was forced to sell off to complete its $71.6 billion purchase of most of 21st Century Fox’s assets. “Investors were loving Sinclair Broadcast Group’s big bet on the future of sports, and sports gambling, sending the company’s stock up 30 percent in early trading on Monday,” Forbes reported today.
“It is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement to divest my stations in Evansville and Lafayette today,” DuJuan McCoy, president and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting, said in a Monday release announcing the sale. “When I look back on how the dedicated staffs of both markets have grown these properties in all facets of the operation including revenue, market share, local news production, and public service within these local communities it reinforces to me the value of people in our business and it leaves me very encouraged about the future prospects of local television broadcasting.”
Dan Kirkpatrick of the DC-based telecom law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, which represents Bayou City, says the company currently employees 74 people in Lafayette and 82 in Evansville. “It is our understanding that Allen Media is retaining all employees at closing,” he tells me.
Sean Trcalek, general manager of the Lafayette stations, was not immediately available for comment.
Bayou City’s McCoy called the sale “a historic transaction in the annals of media transactions in our country where one African-American owned company sells local broadcast Big 4 TV affiliates to another African-American owned company which furthers the Federal Communication Commission’s goal of increasing diversity in broadcast ownership.”
The KADN/KLAF purchase comes just six months after E.W. Scripps Co. announced its purchase of KATC-TV3, Lafayette’s ABC affiliate, along with 14 other stations owned by Cordillera Communications. That transaction was valued at $521 million.