We've worked the phones, er, E-Mail, and gathered information from a number of our sources, and we now have a clearer picture of the impending sale of FOX owned-and-operated station WJW/8 "FOX 8" in Cleveland and a number of sister stations.
First of all, a clarification.
After sweeping the building at South Marginal Road, OMW hears that FOX honcho Dennis Swanson did NOT announce the actual identity of the buyer that has been found for WJW and eight other smaller market O&Os. Staffers were told that the buyer's identity should be known sometime by the end of this week.
We have confirmed, though, the announcement to WJW staffers in two meetings Monday that there is indeed a buyer, and many other details have become clearer.
The only name that's popped up as the likely incoming buyer of the sold-off FOX stations is indeed Oak Hill Capital Partners, known operationally as Local TV, LLC.
That's the group identified in our original item, and we're confident enough to predict their takeover will be officially announced in the next few days - though we have been told that there was interest from at least one or two other parties.
One other big piece of news we can share: WJW will remain a FOX affiliate under the sale agreement. The deal includes a 10 year contract with the network that's selling the station, though as we said before, we find it hard to envision any other outcome anyway.
OMW also hears that FOX's Swanson warned "FOX 8" staffers that the new company's benefit package would "not be as robust" as the one offered by the network.
We haven't "run the numbers", but we have heard many times that FOX actually pays well, and provides good benefits for its local employees. It'd probably be hard for Oak Hill/Local TV LLC (or any other similar size company) to match that.
Status? Sale confirmed. Identity of buyer not yet official, but putting horses on Oak Hill Capital Partners/Local TV, LLC wouldn't be a risky bet, with the firm's identity to be officially revealed sometime before the end of the week.
OMW? Caught up...