Will The UHF Discount’s Return Result In A Sinclair-Tribune Wedding?


A whole lot of deal making could be taking place in the posh suites of the Encore and Wynn resort hotels next week during the 2017 NAB Show, and if rumors are correct, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Co. may want to think about a visit to the “Chapel of Love” before leaving Las Vegas.

Talk of an acquisition by Baltimore-based Sinclair of some, if not all, of Tribune Media’s TV assets, is hot and heavy. In March, Reuters broke the news that the companies were in preliminary talks regarding a combination of properties. On Wednesday (4/19), Bloomberg noted that talks were still ongoing and a valuation of a “high $30s” per-share stock acquisition may or may not be in the cards.

While Sinclair has remained mum on the subject, many TV industry observers will likely have much to opine about Tribune Media’s official statement regarding the FCC’s Thursday decision at its April Open Meeting to reinstate the so-called “UHF discount.”

Tribune said, “Today’s action by the Federal Communications Commission is a welcome step towards creating a more level playing field for all local broadcasters in their relationships with television networks, satellite operators, cable providers, and streaming video services. Ultimately, the FCC’s decision will serve the important interest of localism by enabling broadcasters to better serve their communities.”

Does this mean that the owner of 42 O&Os, the WGN America cable TV network, multicast networks Antenna TV and THIS TV, Tribune Studios, and heritage Talker WGN-AM in Chicago is ready to do a deal with a company swiftly moving into the production of its own daytime programming as it sees tremendous success with multicast network COMET TV?

Media brokers RBR + TVBR spoke with declined to comment on the rumors.

But, at least one of them could be quite busy with representatives from these two broadcast TV companies next week in Las Vegas.