DMA 115: SIOUX FALLS, SD

KDLT Says DOJ Has OK’d Sale To Gray

An internal email from the GM of Red River Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Sioux Falls, S.D., says the Justice Department has signed off on the $32 million sale to Gray Television first proposed in 2018.

The general manager of KDLT Sioux Falls, S.D. (DMA 115), has alerted her staff that the Department of Justice has cleared the sale of the NBC affiliate to Gray Television, according to a copy of the email obtained by TVNewsCheck.

“Earlier this morning, the DOJ dropped its investigation into the merger of KDLT/KSFY,” GM Katie Haffeman says in the email. “The acquisition now resides with the FCC….”

In the spring on 2018, Gray agreed to buy NBC affiliate KDLT from Red River Broadcasting for $32 million with the intention of merging it with its ABC affiliate in the market, KSFY.

The deal has been hung up at the Justice for more than a year because it involves the combination of top four-rated stations, and antitrust officials are concerned about how such combos may impact advertisers.

KSFY, is the sprawling market’s second-ranked station; KDLT, the third ranked.

The FCC’s local ownership rules prohibit two top four-rated stations (typically Big Four affiliates) in a market, but the agency has said it will consider waiving the rule on a case-by-case basis.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

News that Justice has OK’d the merger comes just days after a Wall Street Journal editorial scolded the Justice Department for blocking the deal and the natural workings of the marketplace.

Haffeman referred calls to her to Kathy Lau, Red River COO. Lau has yet to return a call to TVNewsCheck.


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[email protected] says:

July 12, 2019 at 12:10 am

It sure took a long time to get that merger done DOJ shouldn’t have dragged its feet and should’ve approved the deal 6 or 8 months after merger happened.


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