July 25, 2021

Viacom agrees to purchase WSBK in Boston

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc. said Wednesday it agreed to buy Boston television station WSBK for about $100 million and said the station would become an affiliate of its planned broadcast TV network.

The station, which operates on channel 38, is being sold by the television division of New World Communications Group Inc., based in New York.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Viacom said the deal is part of continuing efforts to replace its network-affiliated stations with independent stations that can then be aligned with its United Paramount network, which is to be launched Jan. 16.

New World has been trying to include more VHF stations — those operating on channels 2 through 13 — in its station group.

UHF stations are those on channels 14 and higher. Their signals are typically weaker and reach a smaller portion of the market than those on the VHF band. New World owns 11 stations including WSBK.

New World put WSBK, a UHF station, up for sale in the spring.

New York-based Viacom owns a dozen TV stations, including eight now affiliated with the NBC, CBS and Fox networks.

It has announced plans to sell the three Fox-affiliated stations and reportedly is in talks to sell the five affiliated with NBC and CBS.

Viacom has also announced deals to buy stations in Phildelphia and Miami.

New World, which is controlled by a Ronald Perelman-led investment company, set off a chain reaction of network affiliation switches this past May when it sold a 20 percent equity stake to the Fox network’s parent company, News Corp.

As part of that $500 million deal, New World said it would switch all of its network-affiliated stations to Fox.

Viacom, controlled by chairman Sumner Redstone, owns the MTV and Nickelodeon cable networks, Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster Publishing and the Blockbuster video rental and music store chain.

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