Sinclair Broadcast Group buying WHNT News 19’s parent company, Tribune Media

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Sinclair Broadcast agrees to deal to purchase Tribune Media, WHNT News 19's parent company

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. and Tribune Media Company announced Monday an agreement under which Sinclair will acquire Tribune, the parent company of WHNT News 19.

Bringing Sinclair and Tribune Media together creates a powerhouse in local television broadcasting, with more than 200 local TV stations in 100 markets across the country, delivering roughly 200,000 hours of local news annually.

Currently, Tribune owns or operates 42 television stations in 33 markets, including WHNT News 19. The company also owns and operates cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV, and has minority stakes in the TV Food Network and CareerBuilder, and a variety of real estate assets.

Sinclair already owns two other television stations in Alabama. The company currently operates in the Birmingham and Mobile television markets.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” commented Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair.  “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets.

“This will be the largest acquisition in our company’s history, and I want to thank everyone from the Sinclair team, as well as our advisors and bankers who made this possible,” commented David Smith, Executive Chairman of Sinclair.  “Television broadcasting is even more relevant today, especially when it comes to serving our local communities.  Tribune’s stations allow Sinclair to strengthen our commitment to serving local communities and to advance the Next Generation Broadcast Platform.  This acquisition will be a turning point for Sinclair, allowing us to better serve our viewers and advertisers while creating value for our shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of an extensive strategic review, which has delivered significant value to our stockholders,” said Peter Kern, Tribune’s Chief Executive Officer.  “We are extremely proud to join Sinclair, and we’re excited that Tribune stockholders and employees will have the opportunity to participate in the long-term growth of the combined company.”

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is anticipated to close and fund in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Tribune’s stockholders, as well as customary closing conditions, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission and antitrust clearance.

The deal will cost Sinclair about $3.9 billion.