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Jun 29, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Fox sells stations to minority consortium

Fox has sold four of its owned stations — WDAF-TV, Kansas City, Mo., WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Ala., WGHP-TV, Greensboro, N.C., and WHBQ-TV, Memphis — to a consortium of minority investors led by New York-based African American businessman Luther Gatling, sources tell Electronic Media. WDAF General Manager Stan Knott held an all-station meeting Friday morning to tell his staff the station was sold.

Brian Mulligan, chairman of Fox Television had no comment; neither did the general managers in Greensboro or Birmingham. A WDAF spokeswoman said the station didn’t have any more details, but officials are estimating the deal would take between six and eight months to be completed.

One source told Electronic Media the deal may have been part of Fox’s strategy to get the Chris Craft Industries station acquisition approved, since Fox has too many stations under the current Federal Communications ownership cap. The deal may include giving Fox the option to buy the stations back if the FCC lifts the cap.

“There had been rumors around that Fox was attempting to place these four stations into the hands of a minority individual or group. … They wanted to, in effect, warehouse the properties — they want to get them back. Everybody expects there will ultimately be a change in ownership rules, so if you need to get properties off your books to get the Chris Craft deal approved. … They have too many stations.”