KUTV, Channel 2, is on the verge of getting its third majority owner in 16 months because VS&A Communications Partners, New York City, is putting the station up for sale along with WOKR, Channel 13, Rochester, N.Y.
In March 1993, the George Hatch family sold 40 percent interest in the television station to a group headed by VS&A for $5.5 million, giving the station some cash and a chance to reduce its debts.Then the Rochester station and KUTV were combined in an investment package, which included TeleScene, a video production and post-production facility located at KUTV. That move made VS&A a majority owner and left the remaining portion of the station with a partnership of Paul M. Hughes, a Partners official, and the Hatch family.
Hughes, who manages the investment fund for the New York investment-banking firm of Veronis, Suhler and Associates, said there are some parties interested in buying the two stations and acknowledged that he is one of them. Hughes said the potential sale is strictly a business decision and doesn't indicate "that we are unhappy with the station."
No dramatic changes are expected for the station, Hughes said; it won't affect the Salt Lake market, and the station's quality will remain the same.
Also, Jeffrey B. Hatch, KUTV's president and general manager, and Diane Orr, a Hatch family member and news director, are expected to remain at the station.
According to a news release from KUTV, the investment fund has been pleased with the growth of KUTV and the Rochester station but wants to pursue other business activities.
"We have enjoyed the working relationship we have had with our partners and Paul Hughes in his capacity as chief executive officer for the investment fund since March 1993," said Hatch.
"The company has an attractive potential for future growth, given the strong Utah economy, our excellent staff and the improved capital and operating resources we have had to work with this past year," said Hatch. Hughes has indicated he may stay involved with KUTV depending on who buys the station and if the Hatch family intends to keeps its minority interest.