1/24/97 -- 6:02 PM

Meredith Purchase,0318


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Meredith Corp. said Friday it will buy four television stations in a $435 million deal.

The Des Moines-based media company said it has agreed to buy all four television stations - one CBS affiliate and three Fox affiliates - of First Media Television L.P., a private company controlled by the Marriott family.

The stations are WCPX, a CBS station in Orlando, Fla., and Fox stations KPDX in Portland, Ore.; KFXO in Bend, Ore., and WHNS in Greenville-Asheville, N.C.

KFXO is a low-power companion station of KPDX in Portland.

Meredith, best known for its publishing operations which include Ladies' Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens magazines, already owns seven television stations.

The purchase is subject to approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Meredith already owns a Fox affiliate in Orlando, so it must divest that station or the CBS affiliate it is buying from First Media because FCC rules prohibit ownership of more than one television station in a single market.

Meredith will seek to trade one of the Orlando stations ``for one or more stations with high growth opportunities,'' said William T. Kerr, Meredith president.

Meredith will pay for the stations with a combination of cash and debt assumption. In the past year, the company divested its book publishing and cable television operations, saying it wanted to focus on magazines and television stations.

``Acquisition of the First Media television stations is a major step toward fulfilling our broadcasting growth strategy,'' Kerr said.

In addition to the Fox affiliate in Orlando, Meredith owns Fox stations in Las Vegas, Nev., and Ocala-Gainesville, Fla.; CBS stations in Phoenix; Kansas City, Mo., and Flint-Saginaw, Mich., and an NBC station in Nashville, Tenn.

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