Tribune Media terminates $3.9B Sinclair deal, files lawsuit

Trump angry with FCC chair over Sinclair deal

Trump angry with FCC chair over Sinclair deal

The merger would've created the largest local broadcaster in America.

Tribune Media has backed out of its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and said it will be filing a lawsuit against the broadcasting giant for allegedly breaching their merger agreement.

NEW YORK, August 9, 2018 - Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) (the "Company") today announced that it has terminated its merger agreement (the "Merger Agreement") with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

The media merger hit the rocks on July 16, when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he had "serious concerns" about the merger because Sinclair's plan to divest some stations might not satisfy federal laws.

Tribune claims Sinclair used "unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations" with the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission over regulatory requirements and refused to sell the stations it needed to.

'This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders'.

Tribune, which is on the hook for a $135million breakup fee, filed a lawsuit against Sinclair, the largest United States broadcast station owner, alleging material breach of contract 15 months after the merger was first announced.

It also means an uncertain future for Chicago-based Tribune Media after 15 months of preparing to be taken over by Sinclair.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group was its roots in the early 1970s, when Julian Sinclair Smith operated an FM radio station and a TV station in Baltimore.

Tribune seeks about $1 billion of lost premium to Tribune's stockholders and additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial, according to a copy of the lawsuit filed in Delaware.

Sinclair has become a significant outlet for conservative views.

Wednesday was the first day Tribune was allowed to pull out of the deal, per the merger agreement.

On Thursday, Kern said the FCC order, which has been the death knell for previous media mergers, was the final straw for Tribune Media.

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".

It's already been more than a year after the merger was announced; the two companies had previously said they would close the deal by the end of 2017.

Under the terms of the deal, Tribune and Sinclair had the right to call off the merger without paying a termination fee if it was not completed by August 8.

Sinclair has defended the decision to have its anchors read from the same script across the country as a way to distinguish its news shows from unreliable stories on social media.

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