The Sinclair & Tribune Merger is Now Dead

The Sinclair & Tribune Merger is Now Dead

The SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP-TRIBUNE MEDIA COMPANY deal is dead with the contractual deadline to close the deal arriving and TRIBUNE exercising its right to terminate the merger agreement. 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.

By filing a lawsuit against Sinclair, Kern said, Tribune intends to "hold Sinclair accountable".

President Trump blasted the FCC for not approving the merger, writing in a tweet that Sinclair and Tribune together "would have been a great and much needed Conservative voice".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

In July, the bid by Sinclair, a media outlet that had the vocal support of President Trump, appeared to be cruising toward approval by U.S. regulators. Kern said he was "extremely pleased" with the state of Tribune in its current form, yet expressed an openness to mergers with other companies in the future.

The deal was worth $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and would have added more than 40 stations including KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in NY and WGN-TV in Chicago to Sinclairs list of local affiliates.

The Maryland company said Thursday in a prepared statement that the Tribune lawsuit is "entirely without merit".

Kenny Stills and 2 other Dolphins protest during national anthem
In a second tweet , Trump claimed that "Most of the money goes to the players anyway", but there is no proof that is true. A dozen NFL preseason games kicked off Thursday night along with multiple national anthem protests by the players.

The FCC said Sinclair did not "fully disclose facts" about the planned sale of three stations, including pre-existing business relationships between the company and prospective buyers.

"This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders", Tribune Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern said in the statement.

Not only is it pulling out of the deal, but Tribune said it will sue Sinclair, arguing Sinclair's negotiations with the US Justice Department and FCC were "unnecessarily aggressive".

Public Knowledge, an advocacy group that has been critical of the FCC under Pai, has been against a tie up between Sinclair and Tribune from the start. On Thursday, Kern said that any further delays would hurt his company - so the Tribune board made a decision to spike the deal.

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". The commissioners called into question whether some of Sinclair's proposed divestments were a "sham" because they were being sold to people so closely aligned with Sinclair and in agreements that would still allow Sinclair to operate the stations.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Department of Justice and FCC didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sinclair had proposed some revisions to its divesture plan last month, but those terms left Sinclair in control of stations under scrutiny, including in Chicago.

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