Sinclair says Tribune deal breaks no FCC rules

Sinclair argued that the four shared services agreements proposed as part of the station divestitures follow current law and precedent. (FCC)

Sinclair is now well over a year into the process of trying to acquire Tribune Media in a $3.9 billion deal, and the broadcaster continues to fight off critics of the merger.

In a new response to several petitions against the merger—from parties including Dish Network, Newsmax and the American Cable Association—Sinclair pushed back against “petitions’ rhetoric,” asserting that “the sky is not falling” and that the Sinclair-Tribune merger will not radically disrupt the media landscape, impede access to quality local news or violate any existing FCC rules and regulations.

Amid updates to its merger agreement and several planned station divestitures, Sinclair said that opponents of its deal continue to hammer away at the same points, namely that a combined Sinclair and Tribune will be too big, will reduce local viewpoint diversity and will cause retransmission fees to rise.


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Sinclair argued that the four shared services agreements proposed as part of the station divestitures follow current law and precedent, and that arguments against Sinclair owning two top-four stations in markets like St. Louis and Indianapolis are economically flawed.

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Sinclair said the proposed transaction complies with the Commission’s rules and is in the public interest, and it urged the FCC to quickly deny the petitions and allow the acquisition.

In April, Sinclair disclosed plans to sell off 23 television stations to gain regulatory approval for its Tribune merger. Twenty-First Century Fox bought seven stations for $910 million, Standard Media Group bought nine stations for $441.7 million, Meredith bought one station for $65 million, Howard Stirk Holdings bought three stations for $4.95 million and two licenses were transferred to local marketing agreement partner Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation for $60 million.