As of a few weeks ago, the highly anticipated Sinclair and Tribune TV merger is dead. Now both companies are seeing each other as the fight over who is responsible gets started.
A few weeks ago Tribune filed a lawsuit against Sinclair. According to the lawsuit Sinclair “committed to use its reasonable best efforts to obtain regulatory approval as promptly as possible,” Tribune said in a statement, but instead “in an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, [it] engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with [federal regulators].”
Now Sinclair is counter suing Tribune. According to Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s President & Chief Executive Officer “we are likewise disappointed that Tribune, through its meritless lawsuit, is seeking to capitalize on an unfavorable and unexpected reaction from the Federal Communications Commission to capture a windfall for Tribune,” Ripley added. “Today, we filed our response to Tribune’s complaint, along with a counterclaim against Tribune for breaching the merger agreement. As described in our filing, we fully complied with our obligations under the merger agreement and worked tirelessly to close the transaction. The Company looks forward to vigorously defending against Tribune’s claims and pursuing our own claim.”
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 New York and WGN-TV in Chicago to Sinclairs list of local affiliates. (Tribune also has stakes in the Food Network and job-search website CareerBuilder.)
Sinclair already has 173 stations around the country, including KENV in Salt Lake City, KOMO in Seattle and WKRC in Cincinnati. The Tribune deal, plus other pending acquisitions, will give Sinclair a total of 233 TV stations. But the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company had offered to sell some stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission rules.
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