Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hearst, NBC not interested in KRON

Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable reports that Friday was the deadline to submit bids for Young Broadcasting and its 10 stations, including KRON 4. The winning bidder is scheduled to be selected on Monday, with the announcement presumably coming some days later.

Rumored suitors include billionaire Robert Bass's venture capital company Oak Hill Partners, whose Local TV unit is comprised of 16 stations including WJW Cleveland, KTVI St. Louis, WBRC Birmingham, WHO Des Moines and KDVR Denver.

Another suitor is reported to be a leveraged buyout/venture capital firm called H.I.G. International that has an office in San Francisco. One of its units, Bayside Capital, specializes in companies with "distressed or over-leveraged balance sheets" -- which describes Young Broadcasting.

Malone says Oak Hill wouldn't comment and H.I.G. wouldn't return calls.

Representatives from Hearst and NBC dismissed speculation of their interest, Malone reports.

Young famously outbid NBC for KRON in 1999, paying $823 million -- a record price for any single television station. General Electric responded by pulling its affiliation from KRON and buying KNTV in San Jose. Now Malone says that experts put the value of KRON at between $150 million and $250 million.

Young filed for Chapter 11 in February, listing assets of more than $575.6 million, versus total debt exceeding $980.4 million.

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