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Fox to acquire much-coveted Seattle station from Nexstar

KCPQ Q13 Fox Logo

After years of trying to acquire two Seattle-area television stations, the Fox Broadcasting Company finally got its wish on Wednesday.

In a press release, Nexstar Media Group said it agreed to divest Seattle Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV (Channel 13) and sister-station KZJO (Channel 22) to the searchlight company as Fox continues to acquire local stations in major sports markets.

In September, The Desk exclusively reported Nexstar was exploring the sale of KCPQ and a handful of other stations across the country after the company closed on its acquisition of dozens of former Tribune Media stations.

Fox attempted to purchase KCPQ away from Tribune in 2014 as it sought to add more local stations in markets where it owns the broadcast rights of games played by certain National Football League teams. The 2014 takeover bid failed after Fox threatened to yank its affiliation from KCPQ and move it to a smaller, low-power broadcaster if Tribune didn’t agree to sell (the two sides eventually reached a multi-year agreement that kept Fox on KCPQ without a condition of sale).

Tribune later said it would sell KCPQ and other stations to Fox if a proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcasting Group went through. That deal fell apart last year.

On Wednesday, Nexstar said it had reached an agreement to divest KCPQ and KZJO to Fox in exchange for two stations — including one Fox affiliate — in the Charlotte, North Carolina market. Nexstar will also sell its newly-acquired Fox affiliate in Milwaukee, WITI (Channel 6), to Fox.

Under the deal, Fox will sell its two Charlotte stations to Nexstar for $45 million in cash, and Nexstar will divest its three stations to Fox for $350 million in cash.

The arrangement must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulators. Both companies said they hope to close the deal early next year.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).