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

The company was admonished by media watchdogs in April after dozens of Sinclair news anchors read an identical script expressing concern about "one-sided news stories plaguing the country".

Last month, however, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that he had "serious concerns" about the deal, saying that Sinclair might still be able to operate the stations "in practice, even if not in name".

Tribune said it will sue Sinclair for breach of contract, arguing Sinclair's negotiations with the US Justice Department and FCC were "unnecessarily aggressive".

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

Sinclair wanted to purchase Tribune Media's 42 stations in 33 markets, but there was a problem.

Sinclair could not be reached immediately for comment.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court on Thursday morning, uses similarly tough language regarding Sinclair and seeks damages "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". It also follows a significant blow from the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission last month, when it questioned Sinclair's candor over the planned sale of some stations.

"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.


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.

Kern told employees in an email reviewed by Reuters that it was not clear what was next for Tribune.

"The lawsuit described in Tribune's public filings today is entirely without merit, and we intend to defend against it vigorously". But the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company had offered to sell some stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission rules.

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.

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

Under the terms of the deal, Tribune and Sinclair had the right to call off the deal without paying a termination fee if it was not completed by August 8.

A survey by the Washington Post in December 2016 showed that the coverage by Sinclair-run news outlets was "disproportionately" favorable to Trump in the election year.

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