That's News to The News

Amazing the stuff you find trolling the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Web site when you've got nothing else to do. For instance, take this little item from Belo Corp.'s Form 10-K annual report, filed with the SEC just last week:

"On January 5, 2006, Infinity Radio, Inc., a subsidiary of CBS Corporation, plaintiff, filed a complaint against Belo Corp. and Belo TV, Inc., a subsidiary of Belo Corp., in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York alleging, among other matters, that Belo breached obligations under the asset purchase agreement between Belo and plaintiff to purchase substantially all of the assets of WUPL-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana, a UPN affiliate, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Plaintiff seeks specific performance directing Belo to deliver the $14,500 purchase price of the station. On February 21, 2006, Belo filed its response to the complaint. The Company believes the complaint is without merit and intends to vigorously defend against it."

Really? Had no idea. (By the way, that purchase price is $14.5 million, not $14,500.) Don't believe there was an agreement between Belo and Infinity, just because you never heard about it or read about it, say, in The Dallas Morning News? Well, Viacom (which has since become the CBS Corporation) actually issued a press release last November breaking the news:

"The Stations group signed definitive agreements to sell WUPL-TV in New Orleans to Belo Corp. for approximately $15 million and KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City to The New York Times Company for approximately $22 million, as part of a strategic restructuring. An impairment charge of approximately $19 million was recorded in the quarter for the station sales."

But if I didn't read about the sale or the lawsuit in the News, gawrsh, I guess they never happened. And I do recommend reading the Form 10-K; probably more interesting stuff in there than in the, ya know, paper. --Robert Wilonsky

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