Diversified Communications announced today the planned divestiture of its television stations, WABI (CBS/CW) in Bangor, Maine and WCJB (ABC/CW) in Gainesville, Florida to Gray Television, Inc. (“Gray”) pending FCC approval.
“This was a very difficult decision by our Board of Directors, but we feel it is the right one,” said Diversified’s Board Chair, Daniel Hildreth. “We believe that under the ownership of Gray, WCJB and WABI will have greater opportunities for long-term financial success which will ultimately benefit both our employees and viewers.”
Gray owns and/or operates 100 television stations across 54 television markets that collectively broadcast over 200 program streams including 101 channels affiliated with the CBS Network, the NBC Network, the ABC Network and the FOX Network.
Diversified began as a radio station in 1949, acquiring WABI-AM in Bangor, Maine; and expanded into television broadcasting with the launch of WABI-TV in 1953. Diversified later acquired WCJB-TV in Gainesville, Florida. In 1970 Diversified acquired FISH EXPO Boston and launched National Fisherman magazine forming the basis for its business as a tradeshow and conference producer, and publisher of supporting trade publications and digital products.
“The television stations are the foundation of what became Diversified Communications,” said Theodore R. Wirth, President and CEO of Diversified Communications. “We are profoundly connected to the stations, the communities they serve and the employees who have made them so successful.”
WABI and WCJB consistently achieve #1 ratings in all major time slots in their market. Each station is also the most watched television station in its market across all of its weekday local news time slots. Each station, in fact, has more viewers than the viewership of all other Big Four affiliated stations in its market – combined. Finally, according to BIA data, each station has capitalized on its ratings dominance by achieving a market revenue share exceeding fifty percent.
“We are honored to be selected by Diversified as the new owners of legacy stations WABI and WCJB,” said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., Gray’s Chairman and CEO. “Both stations are highly valued institutions in their respective communities with dedicated employees who share our vision and culture. We look forward to building upon these strong foundations and enviable records of success.”
Wells Fargo Securities, LLC served as financial advisor and Sullivan & Worcester LLP served as legal counsel for Diversified Communications.
Diversified Communications is a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face-to-face events, digital products, publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: technology, seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified has divisions in the Eastern United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.