CBS Renews Affiliation Deal for 12 Lin Media TV Stations

CBS Corp., owner of the most-watched U.S. television network, agreed to renew affiliation agreements for 12 stations owned by Lin Media LLC, helping the local-TV chain cement the terms of its takeover by Media General Inc.

The deal includes renewals for channels in 10 U.S. markets including KRQE in Albuquerque, New Mexico; KREZ-TV in Durango, Colorado; and WIAT in Birmingham, Alabama, the companies said in a statement today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Earlier this month, Media General cut the price it’s paying to acquire Lin by $110 million after CBS broke off ties with another of Lin’s stations. The broadcaster terminated its affiliation with WISH-TV in Indianapolis and switched to a channel owned by Tribune Media Co. after negotiating a better deal.

Media General, backed by Warren Buffett and Mario Gabelli, agreed to acquire Austin, Texas-based Lin in March for about $1.6 billion in cash and stock. The revised accord lowered the stock portion of that original deal. Today’s agreement with CBS should help address concern the price could be lowered further, said Marci Ryvicker, an analyst at Wells Fargo & Co.

“We think a pretty significant overhang on LIN’s (and MEG’s) stock should be removed,” Ryvicker said today in a note, referring to Lin and Media General by their ticker symbols.

Companies such as Tribune and Gannett Co. have been stepping up TV acquisitions in recent years as payments by cable companies to carry local broadcasts have made the business more lucrative.

Lin rose 1.4 percent to $23.01 at the close in New York, and Richmond, Virginia-based Media General increased 0.3 percent to $15.95. New York-based CBS dropped 1.4 percent to $59.55.

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