Sinclair Jumps After Agreeing to Buy Fisher Communications

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. shares rose 8.5 percent after the company agreed to buy Fisher Communications Inc., continuing a TV-station acquisition spree that’s designed to boost cash flow and capture key markets.

The shares climbed to $23.69 at the close in New York, marking the second straight day of 6 percent-plus gains. Shares of the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company, which operates local TV stations, have climbed 87 percent this year.

The Fisher deal will bring 20 television stations to Sinclair, raising its total to 134. The acquisition, which also includes previous deals with Barrington Broadcasting Group LLC and Cox Media Group, will let the company reach 33.7 percent of U.S. television households, according to a statement today.

Sinclair is paying $41 a share in cash for Fisher in a deal valued at about $373.3 million. That represents a 44 percent premium over Fisher’s closing price on Jan. 9, before the company announced it was pursuing strategic alternatives.

“Sinclair is the largest independent TV broadcaster in the country, and we believe its commitment to the industry -- along with its greater scale and sizable resources -- will provide our stations, team members and business partners with new opportunities to flourish,” Fisher Chief Executive Officer Colleen Brown said in the statement.

(Updates share price starting in first paragraph.)
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