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Tribune Calls Off $3.9 Billion Sale To Sinclair
10 August 2018, 08:44 | Regina Holmes
Sinclair already own 39% of the TV stations in the United States, and this would have raised that to 42%.
Tribune Media Co terminated its $3.9billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group and filed suit, the company said on Thursday, after regulators objected to the acquisition that had received support from US President Donald Trump.
Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group over the way it handled divesting TV stations ahead of their planned merger.
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. On Thursday, Kern said that any further delays would hurt his company - so the Tribune board chose to spike the deal.
"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 said in its lawsuit, according to the statement.
Sinclair also refused to sell certain stations that would have helped the deal secure regulatory approval, Tribune claimed in a news release.
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 the lawsuit filing (via CNN), Tribune alleges that Sinclair "repeatedly and willfully breached its contractual obligations in spectacular fashion".
Sinclair has become a significant outlet for conservative perspectives.
Tribune employees were notified that the deal was off in a lengthy early-morning memo from Kern that blasted Sinclair and said Tribune had done "everything it was supposed to do".
On Thursday, Kern said the FCC order, which has been the death knell for previous media mergers, was the final straw for Tribune Media.
The complaint seeks $1 billion from Sinclair to cover the "lost premium to Tribune's stockholders", plus "additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial".
Sinclair already has 173 stations around the country, including KENV in Salt Lake City, KOMO in Seattle and WKRC in Cincinnati.
Wednesday was the first day Tribune was allowed to pull out of the deal, per the merger agreement.
He said the merger's failure was not the result of "an unwelcoming regulatory environment" but how Sinclair moved forward.
"We are extremely disappointed that after 15 months of trying to close the Tribune transaction, we are instead announcing its termination", said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley. Sinclair defended the script as a way to distinguish its news shows from unreliable stories on social media.
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