Hearst dials down bid for TV unit

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Two years after offering $23.50 a share for the portion of Hearst-Argyle Television it doesn't already own, Hearst Corp. said Wednesday that it will offer $4 apiece for those same shares.

Although a fraction of Hearst's previous bid, the new offer is a 91% premium on Tuesday's closing price for Hearst-Argyle shares. The shares rallied 93% on Wednesday to $4.03, suggesting that some on Wall Street think the offer could be sweetened.

Privately held Hearst, whose holdings include the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle, owns about 82% of the equity and general voting power of Hearst-Argyle, which owns 29 TV stations.

The offer should be made officially by mid-April, Hearst said. (partialdiff)
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