Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Tribune scraps $3.9 billion deal with Sinclair then sues for $1 billion

Tribune scraps $3.9 billion deal with Sinclair then sues for $1 billion

The Maryland company said Thursday in a prepared statement that the Tribune lawsuit is "entirely without merit".

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.

Tribune employees were notified that the deal was off in a lengthy early-morning memo from Kern that blasted Sinclair and said Tribune had done "everything it was supposed to do".

Tribune said Thursday that it pulled out of the agreement and filed a lawsuit against Sinclair for breach of contract.

Tribune has been considering its options since the Federal Communications Commission voted last month to send Sinclair's application to a review by an administrative law judge, a move that typically signals the end of such mergers.

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"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 timeframe, if ever", said Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern, in a statement.

Sinclair is one of the nation's largest owners of TV stations.

The deal, as originally announced in May 2017, would give Sinclair control of 233 TV stations, including 42 Tribune-owned stations and a presence in such top markets as NY and Chicago.

"Liberal Fake News NBC and Comcast gets approved, much bigger, but not Sinclair", he added.

The merger, which would have created a local TV behemoth reaching almost two-thirds of USA households, hit the rocks earlier this summer. For example, Pai led the charge on reinstating a type of agency accounting method that effectively helps broadcast companies own more stations while remaining beneath the national audience cap.

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With the Tribune acquisition, it could expand into dozens of markets. 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.

Tribune, which owns FOX59, also said that it is filing a lawsuit against Sinclair, citing breach of contract.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Department of Justice and FCC didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. On Thursday, Kern said that any further delays would hurt his company - so the Tribune board chose to spike the deal.

As a result, Sinclair planned to sell off 21 of its stations.

Sinclair also has become a significant outlet for conservative perspectives.

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"While what has apparently killed this deal was Sinclair's pattern of deception at the FCC - a fact that should affect its future dealings at the Commission - the deal was bad on its own merits, and this latest development is good for consumers", said Phillip Berenbroick, senior policy counsel at the organization.

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