With bids for the Allbritton station group due Monday, TVNewsCheck floats the possibility that the company will pick two buyers — one for the valuable WJLA in Washington, D.C. and another for the rest of the stations:
A key consideration is the duopoly potential in Allbritton’s other markets: Birmingham, Ala. (DMA 42), Harrisburg, Pa. (DMA 43), Little Rock, Ark. (DMA 56), Tulsa, Okla. (DMA 59), Roanoke, Va. (DMA 68), and Charleston, S.C. (DMA 98).
“Gaining a duopoly is the most powerful driver behind broadcasting M&A,” says Michael Alcamo of M.C. Alcamo & Co., an investment banking firm. “So the directions that Allbritton’s stations will ultimately go will most likely be determined by who can establish duopolies in those markets.”
With at least two overlaps, Sinclair and Nexstar lead the list. Sinclair has stations in Birmingham and Harrisburg and Nexstar has stations in Harrisburg and Little Rock. LIN has a station in Birmingham, as does Raycom. Scripps has an overlap in Tulsa. Tribune, which recently came out swinging with its $2.73 billion Local TV/FoxCo acquisition, has a station in Harrisburg.