CHICAGO – Early Thursday morning, Tribune Media announced the termination of the proposed merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Tribune Media is the parent company that owns WHNT News 19 and several other local television stations across the country.
Tribune has filed a lawsuit against Sinclair for breach of contract.
“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 cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever,” said Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s Chief Executive Officer. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the Merger Agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.”
In a press release, Tribune says “The lawsuit seeks compensation for all losses incurred as a result of Sinclair’s material breaches of the merger agreement,” going on to say… “Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiation with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last month that he had serious concerns about how Sinclair planned to sell off certain stations to comply with regulations. The chairman said Sinclair executives may have shown a lack of candor in their dealings with the FCC.