Budding Media Magnate Byron Allen Seals Another TV Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Byron Allen, the comedian-turned-businessman, isn’t wasting any time.

After taking part in Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s $9.6 billion acquisition of the Fox regional sports networks on Friday, he announced plans on Monday to buy four TV stations in Indiana and Louisiana for $165 million.

Budding Media Magnate Byron Allen Seals Another TV Deal

Allen, 58, has vowed to build an entertainment empire, and the latest transaction is another signal of his ambitions. His company, Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios Inc., owns syndicated shows and acquired the Weather Channel last year for $300 million. But Monday’s agreement to buy Bayou City Broadcasting marks its first foray into owning local TV stations.

“This is another milestone for our company,” Allen said. Entertainment Studios will “continue to look for other opportunities to grow our global media company through strategic acquisitions.”

The acquisition covers CBS and Fox affiliates in Evansville, Indiana, and NBC and Fox affiliates in Lafayette, Louisiana.

In an interview Friday, Allen said he was a “huge fan” of Rupert Murdoch, the Fox mogul who built a global conglomerate of film and TV businesses.

Entertainment Studios is nowhere near Fox proportions, but the business has come a long way from its start on Allen’s kitchen table 26 years ago. He sold Sinclair its first syndicated show, “Entertainers with Byron Allen,” when the broadcaster had just two stations. That relationship laid the groundwork for him to invest in the Sinclair acquisition of the Fox networks.

“I decided we weren’t going to sit this out -- we definitely wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “We campaigned, and we were able to strike a deal with Sinclair.”

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