Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI.O) is nearing a deal to acquire Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N) for close to $4 billion after prevailing in an auction for one of the largest U.S. television station operators, according to people familiar with the matter.
A potential deal for Tribune could come as soon as Monday, just weeks after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to reverse a 2016 decision that limits the number of television stations some broadcasters can buy.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, named by President Donald Trump in January, is planning to take a new look at the current overall limit on companies owning stations serving no more than 39 percent of U.S. television households.
Still, a combined Tribune and Sinclair could surpass this cap and face some regulatory challenges which could result in divestitures, analysts said.
For those of you thinking Sinclair sounds familiar, let’s take a walk down memory lane to the glory days of 2004, when even mentioning that the war in Iraq was killing people was grounds for getting blackballed from public discourse.
Sinclair threw an epic tantrum because, get this, READING THE NAMES OF THE WAR DEAD was viewed as an anti-war act. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how fucking insane everyone was back then:
The Sinclair Broadcast Group will yank Nightline from its seven ABC stations tonight because of a plan to devote the show to reading the names of the hundreds of American service members killed in Iraq, which Sinclair says is intended to damage support for U.S. actions there.
Ted Koppel, anchor of the ABC News program, is attempting to “disguise political speech as news content,” said Mark Hyman, Sinclair’s vice president for corporate relations. “He’s welcome to participate in political speech, but this purports to be a news program. There is no journalistic value here.”
The decision to drop Nightline was made at Sinclair’s corporate headquarters in Hunt Valley, not by its news editors, Hyman said. A statement posted on the company’s Web site yesterday said: “The action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.”
So it’s just super-great that they’ll now own MORE.