We knew that CBS is doubling its broadcast television holdings in the New York market with the acquisition of a Riverhead NY indy, WLNY, which serves Long Island over-air and also most of the tri-state market via MVPD carriage. Now we also know how much it’s going to cost.
According to documents just filed with the FCC, the price for the station will be $55M cash. CBS will begin selling time on the stations via a JSA that will kick in prior to closing.
Hoffman Schutz broadcast transaction analyst Dave Schutz took a stab at estimating the then-undisclosed price a week ago, and the phrase close but no cigar applies. He plugged in metrics from a comparable recent large-market deal in Philadelphia to arrive at an estimate of between $60M-$75M.
The deal does not follow a direct path from seller to buyer. It has been filed in two parts. Seller WLNY Limited Partnership is actually transferring the station not to CBS, but to WLNYEAT, a temporary license company that is a subsidiary of TVPX 1031 Exchange Company, headed by Tobias Feinblatt and others.
TVPX is a firm that specializes in facilitating tax-free like-kind exchanges. It will be the company that officially hands the station over to CBS in a more tax-friendly manner than would be possible in a transfer from WLNY LP.
In the FCC filing, CBS also noted that the new television duopoly with WCBS-TV did not impact its ability to hold on to its six-station radio cluster. It said that in the crowded NYC media market, it would legally be able to hold one television station and seven radio stations, or two television stations and six radio stations. It’s current lineup, including WCBS AM-FM, WFAN-AM, WINS-AM, WWFS-FM and WXRK-FM, can therefore be retained intact.
RBR-TVBR observation: Schutz couldn’t resist pointing out a minor irony associated with the price — although it’s now operating on Channel 10, it used to be on 55, and is still virtual Channel 55 on many if not most MVPDs that carry it. So the deal is $55M for 55.