Telemundo may buy Dallas indie KXTX

Jun 25, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The Tom Hicks-owned independent station KXTX-TV, Dallas, which was in talks with Pappas Telecasting, may end up being sold to Telemundo.
Sources familiar with the station said the Pappas Telecasting acquisition of the station fell through earlier this month. KXTX was supposed to be a key station in Azteca America, a new U.S. Hispanic network in which Pappas and TV Azteca are partners.
A Pappas spokeswoman said discussions are still “ongoing” to purchase the station from Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst. She also said Azteca America will still launch this summer.
TV Azteca, which owns 20 percent of the network, is the second-largest producer of Spanish-language programming in the world and already owns 250 stations in Mexico as well as two television networks.
“The sale seemed to be very delayed from the get-go,” said a Dallas source, referring to the proposed Pappas acquisition of KXTX. “Now, [Mr. Hicks] is looking for another buyer. The sale to Pappas didn’t go through. I was surprised. Pappas is an established company.”
Telemundo CEO James McNamara was out of the country last week, but a Telemundo spokeswoman told Electronic Media: “At this point we don’t have anything to announce, but it’s imminent.”
KXTX General Manager Bill Murphy said he had no comment.
A Telemundo acquisition of KXTX is the most likely option because it would give the network an owned station in an important Hispanic market and allow it to compete head-to-head in Dallas against Univision, which now has a duopoly. Univision owns KUVN-TV and the newly acquired USA Broadcasting independent station KSTR-TV.
With the purchase, Telemundo would move its affiliation in the market from KFWD-TV to KXTX. Sources said KFWD management is already asking around to see what syndicated programming is available in case KFWD turns independent.
Sources say Tribune and Belo are also interested in acquiring KXTX. It would give each a duopoly in the country’s seventh-largest market. Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune Co.’s executive vice president and Tribune Broadcasting president, said his company won’t comment on the rumor. Belo Vice President Skip Cass added, “We don’t comment on any speculative transaction.”
KXTX is seen as a key station in Dallas. Until the early 1980s, it was considered the fifth station in the market because it’s a strong UHF independent station in a market that only has about 50 percent cable penetration.