Tribune pulls out of TV station sale to Sinclair

Tribune says it is withdrawing from the deal to sell its TV stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group. 

Tribune media didn't just pull out of the deal to merge with Sinclair Broadcast Group — it also filed a lawsuit against Sinclair for breach of contract. The deal involved 42 stations and sparked a backlash against media consolidation and especially against Sinclair, which critics say is unusually friendly to Republicans.

The whole $3.9 billion deal started falling apart when the Federal Communications Commission sent the case to an administrative court, saying Sinclair may have misrepresented or omitted material facts in its applications in order to circumvent the FCC’s ownership rules. Tribune said in its lawsuit that "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."

Tribune issued a statement:

“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 cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever,” said Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s chief executive officer. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the Merger Agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.



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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.


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