The Federal Communications Commission, saying it needs more time to review the proposed $1.3 billion sale of controlling interest in Storer Television, yesterday froze the transfer of Storer's six TV stations.
The FCC staff on Aug. 20 approved the transfer of control of the stations -- WAGA in Atlanta, WITI in Milwaukee, WJW in Cleveland, WJBK in Detroit, WSBK in Boston and KCST The FCC said that it needed more time to study its staff's recommendation that the TV stations be transferred. in San Diego -- to SCI Television Inc. and Gillet Holdings Inc., SCI's parent company.
KKR Associates, a limited partnership that owns Storer, is selling 51 percent of the broadcast group to SCI Television Inc. for $1.3 billion, plus an estimated $48 million in financing fees. KKR would retain 49 percent.
Steve Sewell of the FCC's Video Services Division said the commission decided to review the staff action and stayed the transfers. He declined, however, to discuss why.
Lawyers representing KKR and Gillet could not immediately be reached for comment.
In halting the transfer of control, the FCC noted the applicants have not yet closed the transactions and that agency rules permit it to review decisions within 40 days after putting them out for public notice. The Storer decision was released Sept. 3.
"We decided to review the staff action on our own motion," the agency said in a statement. "We need additional time, however, to complete our review and, if needed, to gather more information."
In addition to the six TV stations, the stay affects K62AK, a translator station in LaJolla, Calif., that retransmits KCST.
All the stations are network affiliates except WSBK