The FCC said in July Sinclair "did not fully disclose" facts about the merger, raising questions about whether the company had "attempted to skirt the commission's broadcast ownership rules" and would, in fact, actually control the stations Sinclair said it was divesting.
Tribune said in a statement Thursday that it has terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair, scuttling a $3.9 billion deal that would have given the broadcasting group an even broader reach into American living rooms.
The deal was worth $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and would have added more than 40 stations including KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in NY and WGN-TV in Chicago to Sinclairs list of local affiliates.
Not only is it pulling out of the deal, but Tribune is suing Sinclair, arguing Sinclair's negotiations with the US Justice Department and FCC were "unnecessarily aggressive". On Thursday, Kern said that any further delays would hurt his company - so the Tribune board chose to spike the deal.
Mike Huckabee, (R-Ark.), and FBN's Maria Bartiromo and Kristina Partsinevelos on Tribune Media terminating its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair initially announced plans to buy the media conglomerate fifteen months ago.
Sinclair did not immediately comment on Thursday, but said last month "at no time have we withheld information or misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever".
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Those transactions involved selling highly valuable stations to buyers with business ties to Sinclair for below-market prices, the FCC alleged. In addition, Tribune said, Sinclair outright refused to sell station in some markets.
On Wednesday, Sinclair said it remained in discussions with Tribune about how to secure FCC approval of the deal, which has drawn wide-ranging criticism from across the political spectrum for how it would give the company access to so much of the nation's broadcast market.
"Sinclair repeatedly favored its own financial interests over its contractual obligations by rejecting clear paths to regulatory approval", the lawsuit alleges. And the sales allegedly had strings attached that would allow Sinclair to retain significant control over the stations' operations and programming. A copy of the lawsuit will be posted on the Tribune Media website, www.tribunemedia.com, as soon as it has been made publicly available by the Court.
The Maryland company said Thursday in a prepared statement that the Tribune lawsuit is "entirely without merit".
"A long close poses real challenges, whether a company actually is acquired or not", Rouse said.
Rouse cited deferred capital investments, damaged customer relationships and employee exits as three common problems facing companies engaged in a protracted merger.