Citadel Communications is now said to be in the driver’s seat at ABC WLNE-TV in the Providence RI-New Bedford MA DMA after buying it at auction for $4M cash, under terms that also added $1.8M in benefit to the station’s creditors. A former owner protested at the time, and now is taking his objection to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
According to a report at WPRI.com, Kevin O’Brien is filing the appeal through attorney Americo Scungio. O’Brien was a principal with former licensee Global Broadcasting of Southern New England.
O’Brien has argued that the station had returned to profitability during 2010, and at the time of the auction, he said he believed it was worth at least $9M. His own company had purchased it for $14M.
There were higher bids than that offered by Citadel, but Citadel was the only bidder who had a deal in place to retain its ABC affiliation. This was considered to be a key factor in the station’s ability to maintain its financial viability.
Two of the other bids weren’t all that much higher, coming in at $4.3M and $4.2M. The $1.8M benefit was comprised of the right to the station’s receivables.
FCC approval is pending.