Acquisition of Wisconsin FM could be a taxing proposition for buyer


A deal is in the works that will bring a third FM and fifth radio station into the cluster owned and operated by Woodward Communications in the Appleton-Oshkosh WI. But Woodward will have to build it first. It also will assume an unusual potential tax liability.

The station is WLWB-FM CP, licensed to New Holstein WI. The seller is Metro North Communications Inc., headed by Donald G. Burcham. Woodward is headed by Thomas Yunt and Gregory Bell. The value of the deal is $1.2M.

Here’s the tax oddity. Metro North is expecting to be hit with a capital gains tax for the sale. If the sale closes in 2011 and the capital gains rate is higher than it would have been on 12/31/10, then the buyer will have to make up any losses suffered by the seller up to $100K. However, the lame duck tax deal struck between Democrats and Republicans should protect Woodward from falling prey to this financial booby trap during 2011.

Woodward stations in the area include WSCO-AM and WAPL-FM Appleton WI, WHBY-AM Kimberly WI and WCHK-FM Seymour WI.

The CP for WLWB specifies a full-bore Class A, with 6 kW @ 328’ on 92.9 MHz. However, the parties are looking to move it a bit closer to Appleton, and are seeking a similar facility (with a slightly lower 310’ HAAT) with a new city of license. Although the COL is as yet undetermined, they suggested going to any of a number of Calumet County communities, including places like Sherwood, Stockbridge, Chilton or another mutually acceptable location.