SYRACUSE — Newport Television’s proposed sale of ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) and several other stations to Nexstar Broadcasting is a step closer to completion. The FCC has reviewed and “accepted for filing” all documents associated with the proposed sale. But that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal just yet.
In plain English, “accepted for filing” means the FCC doesn’t see any problems with the application at first glance. However, law requires proposed station sales (or technically, “voluntary reassignment of licenses”) to withstand a public comment period. If there are no valid objections raised during that time, the FCC will likely issue its final approval on the deal sometime within the next month or so. The application to transfer the broadcast licenses was “accepted for filing” on Thursday, July 26, but just appeared today on the FCC’s daily list of Broadcast Applications.
According to a sales contract between the two companies (77 pages of which are available as a PDF), Nexstar has already placed 10% of the total sale price in an escrow account. The remainder is due at the time of closing. An exact date isn’t known yet, but is expected to happen within ten days of whatever date the FCC issues its final approval on the deal.
Timeline: Newport’s Farewell Tour
- March 27: Reuters reports that Newport’s parent company, Providence Equity Partners, is exploring options to sell Newport.
- July 18: The Wall Street Journal hears Newport is expected to make a major deal with Nexstar Broadcasting, Cox Entertainment and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
- July 19: The deal is officially announced. Most of Newport’s upstate New York stations will go to Nexstar Broadcasting.
- July 26: The FCC says the deal is “accepted for filing,” meaning final approval is expected within the next few weeks.
- Today: The FCC announces its July 26 decision in today’s “Broadcast Applications” digest.
- August or September: Deal could be final, assuming there are no objections raised.