Tribune Media terminates deal to be bought by Sinclair

Esequiel Farfan
Agosto 9, 2018

Early Thursday morning, Tribune Media announced the termination of the proposed merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Here, the WGN Radio sign appears on the side of Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago.

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

"To maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements", Tribune said. "Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the Merger Agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable", he added.

Responding to news that a hearing would further sideline the merger, Maryland-based Sinclair issued a statement saying it was "shocked and disappointed".

Sinclair Broadcast Group had offered to buy the Chicago company's 42 TV stations and had agreed to get rid of stations in some markets to gain regulatory approval.

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Pai's statement raising questions about whether Sinclair would continue to control some of the stations it proposes to divest followed similar questions raised in separate filings by the American Civil Liberties Union and conservative news outlet Newsmax Media. When the FCC shelved the deal, Trump said it was "So sad and unfair" that the agency in his administration wouldn't give its approval.

"Sinclair's entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement and, but for Sinclair's actions, the transaction could have closed long ago", the company said.

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

"The collapse of the merger is great news for dozens of local communities that will be spared Sinclair's slanted coverage and ridiculous must-runs.", said Craig Aaron, CEO of Free Press, referring to commentary segments produced at the corporate level that Sinclair requires its stations to broadcast. The company that grew out of those ventures enjoyed explosive growth in the 1990s, particularly after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 eased media ownership rules.

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