Turk File

Turk File - August 2009

by Leslie Turk

KLFY has new owner, new managing group 
Young Broadcasting, parent company of Lafayette CBS affiliate KLFY TV-10, is being purchased after all — by its lenders. A group of Young’s bankers has agreed to buy the struggling media company for about $220 million, with some unsecured creditors receiving 10 cents for every dollar owed. Pending FCC approval, that means Young’s new owners are Highland Capital, Eaton Vance, Credit Suisse and Oppenheimer, its senior secured lenders.

The announcement came July 15, a day after Young backed out of a planned auction of its 10 stations. The company reneged on the auction after evidently getting no bids at or above a satisfactory level from the 66 potential buyers it had reached out to. Young, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, posted a net loss of $370 million in 2008; the bankruptcy allows it to escape from almost $350 million in debt.

Less than a week later, New York Southern District Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez not only tentatively approved the sale of Young to its secured lenders but also gave a nod to the new owners’ choice of Gray Television to manage seven of the stations, including KLFY, for an annual fee of $2.2 million (plus incentives). It appears the remaining three, including the troubled KRON, a MyNetworkTV station in San Francisco that Young paid a record $823 million for almost a decade ago (at the time it was a successful NBC affiliate, but Young did not renew the contract amid a dispute with the network), will continue under the management of Young President Deborah McDermott.

The order from the U.S. bankruptcy court called for Young’s current board of directors to be dissolved and reconstituted with five members. “Those members would include Vincent Young, current chairman-CEO-president of Young, two current board members and two new independent directors selected by the buyers and elected by the current board,” TVNEWSDAY reported.

The online broadcast news source went on to call the selection of Gray to manage most of the properties a coup for the Atlanta-based group, noting that Gray was one of five bidders for the management job.

Sunshine Pages, a subsidiary of Gonzales-based EATEL, has acquired The Bayou Pages, a local yellow pages directory owned by Keystone Directories of San Antonio.

The purchase will expand the SunShine Pages’ footprint west along I-10 into Acadiana, positioning it as the premier independent yellow pages publisher in South Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, according to the company.

“Expanding our coverage along the I-10 corridor, covering the Mississippi Gulf Coast and much of South Louisiana, means a better return on investment for our advertisers,” says Pemmie Sheasby, SunShine Pages General Manager. “The Bayou Pages will continue to have a strong local presence, as our Lafayette office will remain open and the name of the directory will stay the same.”

The 2009 edition of The Bayou Pages has just come out. In addition to the printed book, there is also an online directory.

The Lafayette office has a staff of 20, according to Sunshine Pages’ Jimmy Sander. He says the local operation is still being evaluated but maintains Sunshine Pages plans to retain all of Bayou Pages’ employees.

Sander says terms of the deal are not being disclosed at this time.

Thanks in large part to the warm reception it consistently received from shoppers attending the Junior League of Lafayette’s Tinsel & Treasures holiday shopping event, Arkansas-based Paul Michael Company has chosen Lafayette as the site of its fourth store. Its other stores are in Lake Village, Ark., Canton, Texas and Monroe, which opened in 2003.

The family-owned furniture and home décor business, founded in 1994, is opening a 25,000-square-foot store next to Fresh Market.

Paul Michael Company says it draws wholesale and retail customers known to travel hours for its reasonably priced high end decorative accessories, furniture, and rugs.