Tribune Media Cancels Sinclair Media's Purchase and Files Lawsuit

Revenues for the company's sole radio property, News-Talk WGN-A/CHICAGO, are not broken out in TRIBUNE revenue releases.

Tribune Media Co. announced today it is pulling out of a deal to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group for.50 per share or about.9 Billion after facing regulatory pressure.

Sinclair did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours.

"So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn't approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune", Trump tweeted.

The media merger hit the rocks on July 16, when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he had "serious concerns" about the merger because Sinclair's plan to divest some stations might not satisfy federal laws. Hearings can take months, and the prospect of enduring one killed previous deals.

"In light of the FCC's unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair's conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger can not be completed within an acceptable time frame, if ever", said Peter Kern, Tribune's chief executive officer, in a statement Thursday. If no divestitures were made, "the combined company would reach 72 percent of U.S. television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group", the FCC notes. The agency also questioned links between the Maryland-based broadcaster and a buyer proposed for stations in Dallas and Houston.

Sinclair is the nation's largest local broadcaster, reaching about 4 in 10 US households through TV stations.

The deal would have given the combined TV station group a massive scale, with potential 70% coverage of U.S. TV homes - well above the 39% U.S. regulatory limit.

As for Tribune's lawsuit, Ripley said Sinclair "fully complied with our obligations under the merger agreement and tirelessly worked to close this transaction".

Sinclair already has 173 stations around the country, including KENV in Salt Lake City, KOMO in Seattle and WKRC in Cincinnati. It would have been able to expand rapidly into numerous new markets with the Tribune acquisition.

"This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders".

After that, the Justice Department started an investigation about whether talks between advertising teams at TV Station groups violated antitrust laws. Sinclair has been scrutinized for its ties to the Trump administration.

Approval of the merger was widely considered inevitable because Trump's FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is notoriously anti-regulation and pro-merger, and had rolled back ownership rules for broadcast media companies past year in a manner that seemingly paved the way for the deal.

"In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell if advisable to obtain regulatory clearance, Sinclair engaged in belligerent and unnecessarily protracted negations with DOJ and the FCC over regulator requirements... all in the service of Sinclair's self-interest and in derogation of its contractual obligations", the suit alleges.

Sinclair also has become a significant outlet for conservative perspectives.

Vanessa Coleman

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