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Sinclair open to selling anything, CEO responds to reports of potential TV station sales

Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Business News

Sinclair, the nation’s largest owner of local television stations, is open to selling any assets in its portfolio at the right price, the media company’s CEO said Tuesday in response to reports of potential sales.

Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley responded during Maryland-based Sinclair’s annual meeting to a shareholder who asked about the company reportedly looking to sell more than 60 of its 185 stations — nearly a third of them.

A CNBC report last month cited unnamed sources in reporting that Sinclair hired investment banker Moelis and identified more than 60 stations throughout 86 markets, a mix of affiliates such as Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and the CW.

Ripley said the company does not comment on media speculation and noted nothing has been announced officially.

“What I can say about potential sales within our portfolio is that we are very focused on closing the gap between our sum of the parts valuation and where we trade today,” Ripley said. “There’s a very big gap.”

 

Sinclair stock, which has languished over the past few years, has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since 2020 began and was trading Tuesday at $12.31 per share. If considering “sum of the parts,” Ripley said he believed the stock should trade at $50 per share to $60 per share.

Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith, one of the company’s controlling shareholders, acquired The Baltimore Sun with a partner in January.

Sinclair officials have maintained that Wall Street undervalues a company it sees as a TV broadcast owner only, overlooking the value of its nonlocal media assets, such as the Tennis Channel, and investment portfolio. It has been shifting its investment strategy to begin acquiring growing, nonbroadcast businesses.

“There’s no sacred cows,” Ripley said Tuesday during the meeting. “For the right price, anything can be sold in our portfolio, and we think to the extent that opportunities are out there to transact, that would help close that valuation gap.”


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