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US: Seeks to challenge Sinclair/Tribune deal

 |  July 16, 2018

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday, July 16, that he has “serious concerns” about the proposed merger between the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Pai said in a written statement that the evidence suggests that proposed station divestitures by Sinclair to meet FCC media-ownership regulations would leave the company in practical control of those stations “in violation of the law.”

Mr. Pai said he has circulated a draft order to fellow commissioners that would send those divestiture issues for a hearing before an administrative law judge, potentially killing the US$3.9 billion deal.

“When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, [federal law] does not allow it to approve a transaction,” Mr. Pai said in his statement.

Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel indicated that she has already voted in favor of the initiative.

Critics ranging from congressional Democrats to Sinclair’s conservative media rivals like Newsmax have warned the Sinclair-Tribune merger would give too much power to a single company to control the airwaves. But Sinclair argued that broadcasters must get bigger to effectively compete in the modern media ecosystem.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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