Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Tribune calls off $3.9B buyout by Sinclair

Tribune calls off $3.9B buyout by Sinclair

Last month, however, Federal Communications Commission 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 seeks compensation for all losses incurred as a result of Sinclair's material breaches of the merger agreement. Sinclair already own 39% of the TV stations in the USA, and this would have raised that to 42%.

"Our merger can not be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever", said Tribune CEO Peter Kern in a statement.

Reporters at stations owned by Sinclair - which include almost 200 local affiliate news channels across the country branded as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and more - have been forced to run segments that attack Democratic politicians, discredit the FBI's investigation of Russian Federation, call other media outlets "false news", and even run a regular commentary show by a former Trump adviser.

The $3.9 billion buyout of Tribune Media by Sinclair collapsed Thursday, ending a bid to create a massive media juggernaut that could have rivaled the reach of Fox News. The reason Tribune has filed suit is that Sinclair agreed to use "best reasonable efforts" to make the sale happen by pursuing the sell off of some of its own stations. Tribune is seeking an amount "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".


If no divestitures were made, "the combined company would reach 72 percent of U.S. television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group", the FCC notes. Sinclair has been scrutinized for its ties to the Trump administration.

Sinclair did not immediately comment on Thursday, but said last month 'at no time have we withheld information or misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever'.

In its statement, Tribune said, "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". In Los Angeles, they own KTLA channel 5 and in Chicago, they own WGN TV.

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 dozen Senate Democrats said in April Sinclair was deliberately distorting news coverage by forcing local stations to read scripts that criticized what it described as "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country". It could have had a new show on WGN America or had an existing show moved there.

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