With the broadcast incentive auctions winding down, Gray Television today revealed (PDF) it’s expecting nearly $91 million in proceeds from the reverse auction.
According to a news release, Gray’s anticipated proceeds "reflect the FCC’s acceptance of one or more bids placed by Gray during the auction to modify and/or surrender spectrum used by certain of our television stations."
The company said that “Significantly, the actions necessary to receive the proceeds will not lead to job losses and otherwise are not expected to produce any material change in operations or results for Gray or for any individual market in which we operate,” adding that it will announce the affected station or stations at a later date.
Gray is expecting to receive the proceeds in the second or third quarter of 2017. The company is still unsure how it will allocate the additional capital but, because of planning in association with recently completed acquisitions, the company expects it can defer associated taxes on a long-term basis.
Gray’s estimate of its total proceeds comes as the FCC’s auctions for 600 MHz of spectrum appear to be heading down the home stretch. The reverse auction is completed, with a clearing cost of more than $10 billion, and the forward auction is scheduled for four one-hour rounds today, with proceeds currently hovering around $19.4 billion.
The FCC announced last month that the auction had reached the closing criteria and would end after Stage 4.
“The world’s first spectrum incentive auction has delivered on its ambitious promise,” the FCC’s then-Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a prepared statement. “We will repurpose 70 MHz of high-value, completely clear low-band spectrum for mobile broadband on a nationwide basis. On top of that, 14 MHz of new unlicensed spectrum—the test bed for wireless innovation—will be available for consumer devices and new services. The auction will provide $10.05 billion to broadcast television licensees who participated and billions towards deficit reduction.”