Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the parent company of CBS21 in Harrisburg and CW15, which is licensed in Lancaster, announced Monday that it will buy eight television stations, including Harrisburg-based ABC27, in a nearly $1 billion deal.

The Maryland-based company entered into a "definitive agreement" to buy ABC27 and six other ABC affiliates from Allbritton Communications for $985 million, according to a news release from Sinclair.

Also included in the deal is NewsChannel 8, a 24-hour cable/satellite news network that reaches more than 2 million households in the Washington, D.C., area.

"We are thrilled to add the Allbritton properties to our growing portfolio and national footprint," David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair, said in a statement. "To buy a full-blown news operation in our nation's capital and an infrastructure that allows us to be connected to our branches of government and be at the pulse of national issues is a once-in-a lifetime event."

For sale: With the forthcoming purchase of the stations, Sinclair will off-load four stations, including one in Harrisburg.

Sinclair will sell licenses and "certain related assets" held by CBS21 and those held by stations it owns in Birmingham, Ala., and Charleston, S.C., in order to comply with FCC rules, the release says.

Before Sinclair can buy the eight stations, the deal will have to be approved by the FCC. The deal is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year.


The company expects to fund the purchase through a bank loan and/or by tapping capital markets, the release says.

If the deal is approved, Sinclair would reach an additional 5 percent of all U.S. households through the seven ABC affiliates.

Including previously announced purchases of other stations and current stations it owns, Sinclair, which is affiliated with all major networks, will own, program or provide sales services to 149 television stations in 76 markets. It will reach nearly 39 percent of all U.S. households.

- Reach Greg Gross at