Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to sell Chicago’s WGN-TV and stations in New York and nine smaller markets to win federal approval of its proposed US$3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media.
However, it announced intentions to enter into agreements to operate the stations in three of those markets (Seattle, Oklahoma City and Greenboro).
The Tribune acquisition would cement Sinclair’s spot as the nation’s biggest broadcaster, with control of 233 television stations that would reach 72% of US households. As originally proposed, the deal would give Sinclair 42 Tribune-owned stations and a presence in top markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The Federal Communications Commission said in a September 14 letter that the merger as proposed in May would leave Sinclair exceeding a national TV ownership limit and asked what steps Sinclair planned to take to comply.Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman and a Republican, said that the Commission has no news to report at this moment, that he could not opine on the terms “on the abstract,” and that whether the terms of the offer were appropriate, would depend on facts in each market.
Sinclair agreed last year to buy Tribune’s 42 TV stations, giving a broadcaster known for its conservative leanings a wider presence.
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