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Saints owner buys Emmis station in New Orleans

May 5, 2008

Emmis Communications Corp. today said it has signed an agreement to sell Fox affiliate WVUE-TV in New Orleans for $41 million to Louisiana Media Co. LLC, which is principally owned by Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints.

After-tax proceeds are expected to be about $35.5 million, Emmis officials said. In addition, Emmis will retain about $4 million in revenue from advertising sold before the deal was finalized.

Indianapolis-based Emmis has been trying to sell the station since before Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in 2005.

"We have enjoyed a great relationship with Tom in the past as a broadcaster of Saints games, and it is particularly gratifying to transfer stewardship of this remarkable station to someone who is so committed to the New Orleans community," said Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan. "Tom is getting a station that is stronger than ever."

The sale completes the divestiture of Emmis' television assets. Since announcing its intent to exit the television business in May 2005, Emmis has sold all of its 16 television stations, resulting in gross proceeds of about $1.24 billion.

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