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Why Sinclair Broadcasting Shares Took Off

By Jeremy Bowman - Updated Nov 17, 2016 at 4:24PM

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Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI 1.80%) were taking off today, gaining as much as 18% after announcing it would acquire Fisher Communications (NASDAQ: FSCI).

So what: The announcement came yesterday, but shares continued to gain today after a 9% run-up on Thursday. Sinclair will take over Fisher for a purchase price of $373 million, or $41 per share, a 5% premium over its closing price on Wednesday. The move gives Sinclair, which owns or has relationships with 86 television stations in 46 markets, increased access to the Northwest, in particular, two top-25 markets in Portland and Seattle. The media company plans to finance the transaction through a combination of cash and debt.

Now what: Sinclair shares have now gained more than 25% in the last two days, and are up more than 200% since the summer. The broadcaster once looked like a value play, but now the stock could be ready for a breather after the recent bull run. The Fisher acquisition should help with future growth, but considering that Sinclair only had $22 million on its balance sheet as of the end of 2012, most of the funds for the purchase will come from additional debt inflating an already heavy load, at $2.2 billion. For investors looking to take profits, now looks like a good time.

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