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Sinclair to Buy Tribune Media, Expanding Its Local TV Reach

09 Mai 2017

WNEP-TV parent company Tribune Media Co. announced Monday that the company will be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the local Fox affiliate, Fox 56.

Tribune stockholders will receive $35 in cash and 0.23 share of Sinclair stock for each Tribune share.

The Tribune deal, plus other pending acquisitions, will give Sinclair a total of 233 TV stations.

This deal comes weeks after the Federal Communications Commission reversed a 2016 decision that restricted how many television stations some broadcast companies could buy.

"It's a pretty good possibility because the Tribune deal gives them a more national footprint", Bogardus said.

Although a three-way bidding war had been expected for Tribune, one of the interested parties, 21st Century Fox Inc., ended its pursuit of the company, a person familiar with the situation said.

In 2013, Sinclair bought 18 TV stations owned by Barrington Broadcasting Group, including NBC 3 (WSTM-TV) and CW 6 (WSTQ) in Syracuse.

Sinclair will acquire 100 percent of Tribune's shares - each valued at $43.50, according to CNBC.

Some of the changes that come with Sinclair ownership became apparent in Washington in 2014, when WJLA-TV was bought by Sinclair, part of an eight-station deal with Allbritton Communications for $985 million.

Tribune Media has 42 TV stations and WGN radio, and reaches more than 43 percent of the nation.

As Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne reminded on Monday morning, Sinclair agreed with the Trump campaign past year "to try and secure better media coverage", according to Politico.

In that case, it could divest some TV stations it's purchased in order to stay below the cap - but Pai has also explored raising the limit, which could grant the company another big break.

In order to comply with FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations, Sinclair may sell certain stations in markets where it now owns stations. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, Sinclair and Tribune Media should be able to keep their combined market share low enough with a few divestitures.

Since debuting on Sinclair Broadcasting, Ring of Honor Wrestling has been taped in numerous locations and continues to tour.

The companies expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

Media headlines about Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ:SBGI) have been trending positive on Sunday, according to AlphaOne Sentiment Analysis.

Gary Weitman, senior vice president of corporate relations at Tribune Media in Chicago, said, "We're letting the release speak for itself".

If Sinclair were to launch a national news network to rival Fox, it likely would operate separate from the local stations, Bogardus said. Sinclair would also gain Tribune's ownership stakes in the Food Network and CareerBuilder.

Despite their respective size, Sinclair and Tribune have little overlap in the locations of their stations. In exchange for greater access to the campaign, Sinclair's channels would reportedly air Trump interviews without commentary.