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US: Sinclair to sell 7 TV Stations to Fox to win regulatory OK

 |  May 9, 2018

Twenty-First Century Fox has agreed to buy seven TV stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group for US$910 million, reported Bloomberg.

The move comes as Sinclair is selling some stations to meet regulatory approval for its pending US$3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. Meanwhile, Disney is pursuing a US$52 billion takeover of much of Fox, though TV stations will stay with Rupert Murdoch’s family under a new Fox company.

The Justice Department is “wrapping up” its vetting of station buyers, and Sinclair wants to move on to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval “very shortly,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Ripley told investors. Ripley said he expects a 30-day comment period from the FCC.

“Now that we have completed Fox, we are going to back in front of the FCC,” Ripley said. He said that would trigger a 30-day review period.

As proposed in May, the deal would have extended Sinclair’s reach to more than 70% of US homes, exceeding the national limit of 39%. Sinclair says its proposed divestitures would bring it into compliance with the national cap. That calculation assumes it can count the audience at some stations on a discounted basis, a procedure approved by the FCC but under legal attack.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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