The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deadline for comment on Sinclair’s fifth version of the deal is midnight Thursday, August 9, and historically the department and the FCC coordinate reviews, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Rumors in Washington DC indicate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is close to approving the Sinclair-Tribune deal, perhaps as early as Friday.
The sides have the ability to walk away after August 8, per the terms of the initial agreement inked in May 2017. Sinclair would not comment on the status of the deal during its second quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday morning.
The growing consensus in the marketplace is that Sinclair will give up on the effort to buy all of Tribune’s 42 stations and WGN America cable channel. That would raise the possibility that Tribune would move to sell off its stations in piecemeal fashion, which could still leave openings for Sinclair.
“In regards to the acquisition of Tribune Media Company, we are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees and shareholders,” Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in a statement.