Tribune Media terminates $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair

Tribune Media terminates $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair

Tribune Media terminates $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair

Tribune Media has terminated its $3.9 billion buyout by Sinclair and it's filing a lawsuit against it, citing breach of contract. The lawsuit seeks compensation for all losses incurred as a result of Sinclair's material breaches of the Merger Agreement.

Not only is it pulling out of the deal, but Tribune is suing Sinclair, arguing Sinclair's negotiations with the US Justice Department and FCC were "unnecessarily aggressive".

Sinclair, one of the nation's largest owners of TV stations, has become a significant outlet for conservative perspectives.

Last month, Pai said the merger would need to be reviewed by a judge in an administrative hearing - a huge setback for a deal that was announced in May of 2017.

On a conference call this morning, Kern told analysts that the company was disappointed the merger couldn't be consummated and said it had been a "huge undertaking" to assist Sinclair with trying to win approval for the transaction while maintaining steady operations at the company.

Tribune Media is the parent company of WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis.

Sinclair has been the subject of controversy for forcing its stations to air pro-Donald Trump editorials former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, and even requiring anchors on its stations to record anti-media mission statements.

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The FCC raised questions after Sinclair had proposed to sell WGN to Maryland auto dealer Steven Fader, a longtime business associate of Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith, as Sinclair would largely continue to operate the station under a services agreement.

"Our merger can not be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever", said Tribune CEO Peter Kern in a statement. "Further delay and uncertainly would be detrimental to our company, our business partners and our shareholders, and accordingly, our board chose to terminate the merger agreement with Sinclair". At the time, President Trump tweeted his support of the company.

The merger was opposed by Democratic lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups, small cable companies, and Sinclair competitors.

The deal could still come back together but for now, it looks to be dead.

"This deal would have contributed to the trend where "local" news and "local" programming is created or scripted out of town and is indistinguishable from cable news", Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Phillip Berenbroick said today. "But we expect more efforts from the media titans in the future to tighten their grip on the information marketplace".

"Tribune's decision to pull the plug on the Sinclair merger is great news for consumers who will avoid paying the higher pay-TV rates the deal would have caused", ACA CEO Matthew Polka said. "Broadcasters are supposed to serve their local communities".

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