KREM-2 parent firm put up for sale
By Michael Murphey
Priscilla Bullitt Collins and Harriet Stimson Bullitt, the controlling stockholders of the company, announced Tuesday in Seattle that they intend to sell King Broadcasting so they can devote their attention and resources to preserving environmental quality in the Pacific Northwest through the Bullitt Foundation.
Suzanne Sorknes, King Broadcasting’s vice president and general counsel, said Collins and Bullitt wish to sell the company – which includes six radio stations and six television stations – as a whole.
“We don’t anticipate that there will be major changes at the individual station level as a result of the sale,” Sorknes said, “primarily because Mrs. Collins and Ms. Bullitt are intent upon finding a buyer for the company whose values are consistent with the current values of King Broadcasting Co.
“Virtually all of our stations are profitable, and we would anticipate that a buyer would like to run the stations the way they are being run now.”
The company could be worth as much as $650 million, said media analyst Bishop Cheen of Paul Kagan Associates in Carmel, Calif.
Officials at KREM would not comment on the sale Tuesday afternoon.
Collins and Bullitt, who are sisters and the daughters of King Broadcasting’s founder, said at a news conference in Seattle Tuesday they are under no pressures to sell, and have the luxury of time in finding the right buyer.
Sorknes said negotiations with potential buyers have already begun.
King Broadcasting was founded in 1946 by Dorothy Stimson Bullitt when she acquired Seattle AM radio station KEVR, which she renamed KING. She added KING-FM to the company in 1948, and that same year, acquired KRSC, the first television station in the Pacific Northwest, and renamed it KING-TV.
Today, King Broadcasting has become a diversified communications company with operations in five Western states and Minnesota. In addition to KING and KREM, the company also owns television stations in Portland; Boise; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Honolulu and radio stations in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. King also owns and operates 13 cable systems and a large mobile television division.
Dorothy Bullitt died last year, leaving most of her shares in the company to the Bullitt Foundation, which now has resources of nearly $100 million.
“We believe we can best sustain our family’s commitment to this region through the Bullitt Foundation,” Collins and Bullitt said in a news release Tuesday. “This belief leads us to the conclusion that it is time to sell the company.
“Environment quality in the Pacific Northwest has always been a major focus of the Bullitt Foundation, but we will strengthen it aggressively,” they added.
Wednesday, August 22, 1990