Sinclair Shares Rise Following Agreement To Buy Fisher Communications

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Sinclair Chief Doubts TV Nets Will Side-Step Local TV If They Lose Aereo Case
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Sinclair Chief Doubts TV Nets Will Side-Step Local TV If They Lose Aereo Case

Sinclair continues its TV station buying spree today by snapping up Fisher, a TV and radio power in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Sinclair’s stock is up 5.8% this morning to the highest levels investors have seen in more than a decade after it agreed to pay $373.3M, or $41 a share, for Fisher. That’s a 44% premium to Fisher’s trading price before January 10 when it said it would explore “strategic alternatives,” effectively putting itself on the block. Fisher shares are up 4.6% this morning, and more than 50% since the beginning of 2013. Fisher’s 20 TV stations, which reach 3.9% of the country, include ABC affiliates in Seattle and Portland, OR; CBS stations in Spokane, Boise, and Eugene; the NBC outlet in Eugene; and Fox, Univision, and CW affiliates. “We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward, especially in the two key markets of Seattle and Portland,” Sinclair CEO David Smith says. He cited their tradition of “producing high-quality local news” and vowed to expand on “those traditions and [improve] the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.” The deal’s expected to close in Q3 assuming the FCC approves. Sinclair says it can pay for Fisher with “cash on hand, a bank loan and/or by accessing the capital markets.” Moelis & Co provided financial advice to Fisher while White & Case was its primary legal counsel. Earlier this year, Sinclair bought stations from Barrington Broadcasting and Cox Media.

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