Tribune calls off merger, blasts Sinclair for circumventing FCC rules

Tribune backs out of Sinclair merger | TheHill

Tribune "warned Sinclair repeatedly over many months" that its refusal to comply with required station divestitures was a breach of contract, according to the lawsuit, which seeks to recover at least $1 billion in damages.

With the Tribune merger dead for good, Sinclair will look for other ways to acquire new stations.

"In light of the FCC's unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair's conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger can not be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever", Tribune CEO Peter Kern said in a statement.

Sinclair Broadcast Group wanted the Chicago company's 42 TV stations and had initially agreed to dump nearly two dozen of its own to score approval by the FCC.

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K", Kypros Chrysostomides, oversaw Manafort's foreign accounts. "I have made many mistakes over many years", Gates, 46, replied. Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.


Sinclair wanted to purchase Tribune Media's 42 stations in 33 markets, but there was a problem. The commissioners called into question whether some of Sinclair's proposed divestments were a "sham" because they were being sold to people so closely aligned with Sinclair and in agreements that would still allow Sinclair to operate the stations.

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

Tribune said in the lawsuit that the merger agreement included a clause that when seeking to divest stations, Sinclair would sell in a manner that would avoid "even the threat" of any regulatory review.

The deal's termination, which scuppers Sinclair's efforts to dramatically expand, comes after criticism by Democrats and public advocacy groups over whether the merger was in the public interest. The Tribune deal, plus other pending acquisitions, will give Sinclair a total of 233 TV stations. Ultimately, the FCC concluded unanimously that Sinclair may have misrepresented or omitted material facts in its applications in order to circumvent the FCC's ownership rules and, accordingly, put the merger on indefinite hold while an administrative law judge determines whether Sinclair misled the FCC or acted with a lack of candor.

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The Maryland company did not immediately respond early Thursday to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

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.

Sinclair, a Maryland-based company which is the largest owner of local news stations in the US, is notorious for its right-wing, pro-Trump slant, and its unusual system of distributing slanted "must-run" content to its local stations to work into their broadcasts.

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