For Or Against Scripps/Ion Merger? Tell The FCC Soon


On September 24, RBR+TVBR first reported on the biggest media merger seen in ages: an agreement that sees The E.W. Scripps Co. buy West Palm Beach-based ION Media — the broadcast media network with roots in the Paxson Communications operation — for $2.65 billion.

As part of the regulatory approval process, the FCC is now seeking public input on whether or not the proposed deal serves the public interest.

With Scripps Media Inc. as the transferor and ION Media Networks subsidiary Media HoldCo LP as the transferee, transfer applications were submitted October 14 with the FCC.

Concurrently, divestiture assignment approval of stations to INYO Broadcast Holdings Inc. was sought in a separate filing. ION will divest 26 full-power television stations across 24 markets to INYO for $45 million.

But, there is the pending sale of WPIX-11 in New York to Mission Broadcasting. If that happens before or simultaneously with the closing of the INYO spins and the Scripps-ION Media merger, Scripps would retain WPPX-TV in Wilmington, Del.; KKPX-TV in San Jose, Calif.; and KPXM-TV in St. Cloud, Minn. — resulting in INYO getting 23 stations across 21 markets for $30 million.

“In order to assure the staff’s ability to discuss and obtain information needed to resolve the issues presented, we establish a docket for this proceeding and announce that the ex parte procedures applicable to permit-but-disclose proceedings will govern our consideration of these applications,” the Media Bureau said.

Introducing MB Docket No. 20-369.

The following timetable is now associated with the Media Bureau docket:

Petition to Deny Date: December 7, 2020
Opposition Date: December 22, 2020
Reply Date: December 29, 2020

To allow the Commission to consider fully all substantive issues regarding the applications in as timely and efficient a manner as possible, petitioners and commenters should raise all issues in their initial filings, the Media Bureau notes. Replies may only address matters raised in oppositions.