Buying the company bit by bit


After being rebuffed on its buyout bid, Hearst Corporation is moving ahead with its stated objective of boosting its stake in Hearst-Argyle Television above 80%. The latest tally filed with the SEC puts the ownership stake at 74.2%.

Since announcing in December that its board of directors had authorized the purchase of up to eight million more Hearst-Argyle shares (12/10/07 TVBR #239), Hearst Corporation has bought up 558,300 shares for just over 12 million bucks. It has made open market purchase of as few as 100 shares at a time (the biggest block was 22,800) and all of the purchases have been at prices below the 23.50 per share that it had offered to buy out the public shareholders and take Hearst-Argyle private.

Hearst-Argyle owns 26 television stations, and manages an additional three television and two radio stations. Both of those radio stations and one of the LMA’d TV stations are owned by Hearst Corporation.

TVBR observation: We draw your attention to our 13 predictions of things that will happen in 2008 published on Monday (1/8/08 TVBR #3). Number 11 reads: “Hearst Corporation will take its ownership of Hearst-Argyle Television beyond 80% and then make a stronger bid to pick up the rest and take the TV company private.”