Culture

Tribune Media drops deal with conservative Sinclair TV group

Tribune Media drops deal with conservative Sinclair TV group”

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission voiced concerns that Sinclair may have attempted to skirt ownership rules, and ordered the potential transaction to go through an administrative hearing.

In a press release, Tribune says "The lawsuit seeks compensation for all losses incurred as a result of Sinclair's material breaches of the merger agreement", going on to say...

The FCC vote means that the "merger can not be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever", Tribune CEO Peter Kern said.

The breakup of the deal is a stinging defeat for Sinclair (SBGI), owner of dozens of local television stations.

Nexstar Media Group (NXST.O) and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O), partnering with private equity, had considering buying Tribune before Sinclair announced its deal and are likely bidders, analysts have said.

The FCC said Sinclair did not "fully disclose facts" about the planned sale of three stations, including pre-existing business relationships between the company and prospective buyers.

The Tribune Group on Thursday accused Sinclair of acting in bad faith and adopting an "unnecessarily aggressive" attitude toward regulators, and said it was taking Sinclair to court for breaching the agreement.

"So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn't approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune". Tribune is seeking an amount "including but not limited to approximately $1 billion of lost premium to Tribune's stockholders and additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial".

Sinclair did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The deal may also have hit a roadblock with the Justice Department, which reportedly was investigating whether Sinclair and Tribune violated antitrust laws by coordinating TV ad sales efforts in advance of the proposed merger. It also said the $60 million purchase price for Tribune's WGN-TV in Chicago "appeared to be significantly below market value".

In a bid to reassure regulators, Sinclair said it was willing to relinquish 23 stations but the FCC accused the local new giant of trying to retain control of several of them, and cited a lack of transparency in its plans.

The company is "open to all opportunities" in terms of industry consolidation or remaining independent, Tribune Media Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern told investors on a call on Thursday.

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

Mike Huckabee, (R-Ark.), and FBN's Maria Bartiromo and Kristina Partsinevelos on Tribune Media terminating its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Sinclair has defended the decision to have its anchors read from the same script across the country as a way to distinguish its news shows from unreliable stories on social media.



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