Tribune calls off $3.9 billion deal with Sinclair

Tribune Media terminates deal to be bought by Sinclair

Tribune Media terminates deal to be bought by Sinclair

But the FCC had issues with the way Sinclair was approaching these sales and was concerned the company could buy the stations back after the merger was complete.

Tribune Media Co. announced Thursday it is withdrawing from its $3.9 billion buyout by Sinclair.

In May 2017, Sinclair proposed purchasing Tribune Media's 42 local TV stations and WGN America cable outlet, saying it would create a colossal TV station company owning, operating or providing services to 233 stations in 108 markets across the U.S. Nonetheless, the acquisition has been in limbo since then, awaiting regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the U.S. broadcast industry.

Pai suddenly announced last month that he had "serious concerns" about the deal because Sinclair's divesture plan would still leave it effectively in control of TV stations in markets where its ownership exceeded FCC limitations, including in Chicago.

Sinclair refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain regulatory approval, according to Tribune's release, prompting the FCC to put the merger on indefinite hold. On Thursday, Kern said that any further delays would hurt his company - so the Tribune board chose to spike the deal.

To stay under the national TV ownership cap, Sinclair had proposed shedding 23 stations, including 14 owned by Tribune and nine of its own.

'So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn't approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune. 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. As elaborated in the complaint we filed earlier today, 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.

Like many media stories these days, this one also has a political angle: In recent years, Sinclair and the Smith family have shown favor to President Trump and backed conservative messages.

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said Wednesday that Sinclair was working with Tribune to save the merger.

Kern acknowledged that there would be "speculation" about who might buy Tribune, but urged employees to "shake off the cobwebs of deal distraction, ignore the outside noise, and continue delivering on our commitment to each other, to our customers, to our partners and to the communities we serve".

Sinclair already has 173 stations around the country, including KENV in Salt Lake City, KOMO in Seattle and WKRC in Cincinnati.

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

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