UPDATE 1-Fisher Communications explores sale
* Delays annual shareholder meeting until June 9
* Retains Moelis & Co as adviser
* Shares up 14 pct before bell
Jan 10 (Reuters) - TV station operator Fisher Communications Inc, under pressure from billionaire investor Mario Gabelli, said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale.
Fisher shares were up 14 percent before the bell. They had closed at $28.49 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.
Gabelli, the largest shareholder in Fisher with a 28.63 percent stake, has been pushing the company to undertake a leveraged restructuring and had said in December that he was evaluating options to submit director nominations.
The company said it had not made a decision to "pursue any specific strategic transaction" and had not set a timetable for the review process.
A robust advertising market, the growing importance of retransmission fees and improved access for funding had last year driven TV station deals.
Fisher Communications, which has a market value of about $252.8 million, said it had retained Moelis & Company as financial adviser.
Moelis had advised Newport Broadcasting Group on its $1 billion deal in July to sell 22 stations to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc and Cox Media Group.
Fisher said it is delaying its annual shareholder meeting until June 9 due to the strategic review.
Seattle-based Fisher Communications operates 13 full-power television stations and 7 low-power ones in cities such as Seattle, Portland, Idaho and Boise.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)