The owner of the Charleston region’s ABC television affiliate expects “robust interest from blue-chip media companies” looking to buy the local station and others it’s putting on the block.
Allbritton Communications Co. said Wednesday it’s exploring “potential strategic alternatives” for its TV group that could include a sale.
The lineup includes WCIV-TV in Mount Pleasant and a stable of six other ABC stations in Washington, D.C., Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
A regional cable news outlet in the D.C. area also is part of the group.
The decision to seek out bidders for the TV business comes less than six months after the death of 87-year-old Allbritton Communications founder Joe Allbritton, who was an influential powerbroker in the nation’s capital through his media conglomerate and a financial empire.
A sale of WCIV would end a long streak of continuous ownership. Allbritton personally bought the station in January 1976.
Suzanne Teagle, WCIV’s general manager, referred questions Wednesday to the parent company, which said it would have no further comment until its board reaches a decision.
Robert Allbritton, the heir to his late father’s businesses, was more candid in a memo he wrote to his staff at Politico, a political news website he founded in 2007.
Allbritton said he made the decision to possibly sell the broadcasting business this spring “after careful deliberation and discussion” with his family,
“My plan is to use the resources and expanded mindshare that such a move would make available to increase my commitment to Politico,” he said.
Allbritton suggested he’s looking for a larger media business to buy the relatively small TV group.
“This industry is in the midst of rapid consolidation and there are some clear advantages that come with increased scale,” he wrote. “I want to ensure that our stations are well-positioned to continue their extraordinary success and participate in all of the new prospects for broadcasting going forward.”