Sinclair’s Second Spin On Tribune Merger


Last Wednesday (2/28), Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s legal counsel was joined by Tribune Media‘s legal counsel in a conference call with five key members of the FCC‘s Media Bureau at the Commission’s request.

The subject: MB Docket No. 17-179 — the formal name given to the review of Sinclair’s planned merger with Tribune.

The result of the call: Sinclair and Tribune are to “resubmit or amend” their applications filed in connection with the proceeding.

This is the result of a discussion over “FCC policies and procedures” tied to the merger.

The Media Bureau representatives on the call are:

  • Barbara Kreisman, Chief, Video Division
  • David Brown, Deputy Division Chief, Video Division
  • Chris Robbins, Chief Transactions Counsel, Video Division
  • David Roberts, Senior Attorney Advisor, Video Division
  • Brendan Holland, Chief, Industry Analysis Division

They spoke with Miles Mason of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, counsel to Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Mace Rosenstein of Covington & Burling LLP, counsel to Tribune Media.

The filing was made with the FCC by Mason.

Under the proposed transaction initially filed with the FCC, the combined company would reach 72% of U.S. television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group.

However, divestments are in the works.

With the “shot clock” stuck at Day 167 in its 180-day timeline since October 18 to allow for additional comment, the revised applications could finally rewind the clock — and bring Sinclair’s merger to finality.


WGN, WPIX APAs Filed … And Sinclair’s Very Much In Control

As expected, two of Tribune Media’s biggest TV properties are being sold by Sinclair Broadcast Group in order to stay within the federal government’s 39% national ownership reach cap. Also as expected, the buyers are closely tied to Sinclair, which will essentially continue to operate the stations. The reason is simple: the respective buyers are closely intertwined with Sinclair.

WGN-9, WPIX-11 Will Be Operated By Sinclair In JSA Plan

Confusion over the fate of Tribune Media’s WGN-9 in Chicago was further resolved Wednesday evening, after it was confirmed that the station will not be placed in a newly created divestiture trust administered by RAFAMEDIA LLC. Rather, it will be sold outright by Tribune — but Sinclair will still run it. The same can be said for WPIX-11 in New York.

Sinclair Creates A Divestiture Trust, Led By RAFAMEDIA

The controversial combination of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media has just gotten one step closer to fruition. A series of Form 314 filings have been made Wednesday with the FCC indicating the divestiture of up to 23 broadcast television properties by Sinclair. But, that doesn’t mean its shedding all of those properties. In seven markets, Sinclair seeks a duopoly, and that’s up to what the Commission thinks. The stations have been designated for placement in what will be called the Sinclair Divestiture Trust, and the trustee is RAFAMEDIA LLC, led by veteran media broker Richard A. Foreman.