Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest local TV station owner in the United States, has bought Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.
Sinclair said it would buy Tribune for $43.50 per share and take on $2.7 billion in debt.
Sinclair owns 173 television stations in 81 markets while Tribune owns 42 local stations in 33 markets and cable channel WGN America, and has minority stakes in the jobs website CareerBuilder and the Food Network.
This is a pivotal time for broadcast, and we are excited to reach more communities across the United States, as well as better serve our consumers and advertisers with new technologies that will super charge our capabilities.
Sinclair Broadcasting CEO Chris Ripley in an email to employees
Free Press, an anti-consolidation nonprofit group, has expressed its objections to the deal.
“This deal would have been DOA in any other admin,” the group’s CEO Craig Aaron said, “but the Trump FCC isn’t just approving it; they’re practically arranging it.”
Current FCC rules state that no owner can reach more than 39 percent of the national audience, and no more than two stations in most markets.
Tribune said that Sinclair may “sell certain stations in markets where it currently owns stations.”
The FCC must approve the acquisition.