Days before the deal was to close, NBC’s sale of its South Florida station to The Washington Post Company has been called off. In July, NBC announced that it had reached agreement to sell WTVJ to Washington Post subsidiary Post-Newsweek Stations. That would have given Post-Newsweek two network affiliates in South Florida: WPLG (ABC) and WTVJ (NBC).
The Miami Herald reports the deal was called off late today due to “the current economic environment, and the delay in receiving the necessary regulatory approval.”
Washington Post spokeswoman Rima Calderon says, “This is not a postponement. The transaction has been terminated.” Added NBC Local Media spokeswoman Liz Fischer, “The station remains an NBC owned-and-operated television station.”
Insiders tell TVNewser, there was a “huge sigh of relief from staffers.” The news was announced on WTVJ’s afternoon newscast.
The Herald reports, “Scores of people had filed their objection to the sale with the FCC. FCC rules traditionally prohibit a single company from owning more than one of a metropolitan market’s top four TV stations.”
The question now: does NBC keep WTVJ on the block? In March, when NBC announced it was selling NBC6, the company also announced Connecticut station WVIT was for sale. But WVIT was taken off the block in September due to a lack of suitable buyers thanks in part to the credit crunch.