TV Stations: Easier To Sell Than Newspapers

The New York Times Co.’s sale of its broadcast TV stations suggests that sale multiples for broadcast tv stations—in this case, major-network affiliated TV stations primarily located in mid-sized markets—are holding up substantially better than those for major market newspapers. (I am indebted to the figuring of Prudential analyst Steven barlow here, who issed a report last night pegging the sale multiple at 13.3 times EBITDA.)

Is this good news for Tribune and its upcoming sale, especially in light of McClatchy’s recent, shockingly cheap sale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune?

Not really. Tribune’s 23 local stations are dominated by big-market properties, and a lot of them are affiliated with the still-nascent CW network—an affiliation likely not worth as much as CBS/NBC/ABC et al are. Also, Tribue remains primarily a publishign company. Its total revenue in 23005: $5.6 billion. Its newspaper revenue: $4.0 billion.

The next round of bids are due for Tribune on January 17.