On Monday, May 8, Tribune Media Co. announced its 42 television news properties, including Memphis' WREG-TV, would be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group for somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.9 billion. The deal, originally reported by REUTERS, values TRIBUNE at $43.50 per share, about a 26% premium over the price of TRIBUNE stock the day before SINCLAIR's interest in the company was reported on FEBRUARY 28th. Adding Tribune's stations will also expand Sinclair's reach into major cities where it didn't have a presence before, such as NY and Chicago. It already owns KMPH-TV, the Fox affiliate in Fresno, and KFRE-TV, the CW affiliate there.
"This acquisition will create a leading media platform that includes our country's largest markets and will further our commitment to connecting people with content everywhere", Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in an email to employees.
Sinclair said it expects the deal to during the fourth quarter of this year.
Tribune now operates dozens of TV stations across the country, including CBS4 and our news gathering partners FOX59.
If approved by regulators, the deal would end the run of Tribune Media, which was part of the media conglomerate Tribune Co. broken up in 2014 into television and publishing units.
This deal marks the first major acquisition of a TV broadcasting group announced since the FCC voted last month to overturn a 2016 decision limiting the number of television stations some broadcasters can own. It also owns the cable channel WGN America.
"Sinclair has used its TV stations to launch the Sunday morning public affairs program 'Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson.' Attkisson is a former CBS News correspondent who claimed the government hacked her computer after her aggressive reporting on the Obama administration". "'It makes them a bigger boy on the block, so to speak, ' said McCall".
At time of writing this, Sinclair Broadcast shares are trading down 2.44 percent while Tribune Media is trading up 5.29 percent.
In addition, Sinclair is also assuming about $2.7bn of Tribune's net debt.
Sinclair now owns or runs 173 TV stations. Tribune Media has no TV holdings in the Palmetto State.
This change has led to U.S. media companies trying to consolidate the country's TV station groups.
Still, a combined Tribune and Sinclair could surpass this cap and face some regulatory challenges which could result in divestitures, analysts said.