Tegna Gets 8.6 Million Shares From Standard General

Tegna said it received 8.64 million of its shares from Standard General, whose effort to buy the broadcaster failed as regulatory review extended beyond the data its financing expired. Standard General’s deal with Tegna called for a $136 million termination fee, and Tegna said the shares it received satisfied that obligation.

JESSELL AT LARGE

In Killing Kim’s Deal For Tegna, The FCC Showed Its Prejudice

Thwarted in his bid to buy Tegna by an overlong and deal-breaking FCC review process, Soo Kim (and his right hand Deb McDermott) is indeed a victim of prejudice and discrimination. Only it’s probably not the sort you may think.

Tegna Scraps $8.6 Billion Standard General Deal

Television station operator Tegna Inc. said on Monday it has terminated its merger agreement with hedge fund Standard General after several regulatory hurdles. Tegna last year agreed to be taken private by Standard General in a deal valued at $8.6 billion, including debt. At the time, the acquisition was expected to close in the second half of 2022. However, the deal attracted criticism from some members of Congress on concerns of potentially higher TV prices for consumers and job losses. Then, in February, the FCC decided to hold a hearing on the hedge fund’s bid in a step that has historically led deals to collapse.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Advises FCC To Keep Vetting Standard General-Tegna

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel this week to provide moral support for the regulator’s decision to designate the Standard General-Tegna station group merger for hearing before an administrative law judge. Warren has been a critic of the deal as anticompetitive consolidation and a fan of the hearing designation.

COMMENTARY BY KATHAY FENG

Why Standard General’s Proposed Tegna Merger Hurts Our Democracy

Common Cause VP Kathay Feng says that hedge funds’ bottom-line mindset leads to less-robust local news operations. “The rapid decrease in local news should alarm everyone, especially heading into yet another consequential election year. With fewer resources to combat disinformation and hold power accountable, we have to do what we can to protect our local newsrooms.”

Standard General Tries, Tries Again With FCC On Tegna Deal

Standard General said the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has “suggested” the company “attempt to resolve remaining concerns to allow the transaction“ — its purchase of  Tegna’s TV stations — “to move forward,” which it said it is definitely trying to do. Standard General’s invocation of the Enforcement Bureau suggestion was a reference to a meeting with FCC officials last week.

Republicans Push For IG Investigation Into FCC Handling Of Tegna Deal

The Republican leadership of the House and Senate committees overseeing the FCC has asked the regulator’s acting Inspector General, Sharon Diskin, to look into FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s handling of the review of the Standard General-Tegna merger.

Parties Spar At FCC As Standard General-Tegna Financing Deadline Looms

Heavy hitters from both sides of the Standard General/Tegna merger debate, including former Democratic FCC and FTC chairs, met with the FCC’s Republican commissioners last week as the companies attempted to get the FCC to give them a thumbs up or thumbs down on the deal ASAP.

Dems’ Interests Collide As FCC Pressured To Back TV Deal

The FCC is facing an 11th-hour pressure campaign from civil rights leaders to vote on whether a New York hedge fund’s proposed purchase of a local TV broadcaster should be approved. Standard General, a hedge fund co-founded by Korean-American Soo Kim, wants regulatory approval of its planned $5.4 billion purchase of Tegna, a TV broadcaster with 64 local stations. President Biden’s FCC is caught between two competing agendas within the Democratic Party: Increasing minority ownership of media companies, and preventing consolidated ownership of local TV stations — in this case, at the hands of a hedge fund.

FCC Judge Suspends Standard General-Tegna Review

There will now definitely not be any action from the FCC, or its administrative law judge, on Standard General’s acquisition of station group Tegna deal before the plug is expected to be pulled on its financing. That’s because that ALJ Jane Hinckley Halprin has suspended her review “until further notice” after holding a status conference.

COMMENTARY

FCC’s Merger Review Raises Further Fears About The Future Of Local Journalism

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (N.J.) took to the Senate floor to express his concerns over the Federal Communications Commission’s review of the proposed Standard General-Tegna transaction. His is the latest in a chorus of alarm bells sounding over a flawed merger review process that risks undermining both investment in local television stations’ free service to the public and media diversity.

Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez Rips FCC ‘Inaction’ On Tegna Deal, Vows To Derail Key Confirmation: Sources

The leadership of the FCC is facing a possible reshuffling as a powerful Democratic senator threatened to hold up a key confirmation if the agency didn’t vote on a stalled cable deal, sources told the New York Post. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez railed on the Senate floor about the FCC jeopardizing the offer by Soo Kim’s Standard General to buy Tegna, the owner of 64 television stations, “through, in essence, inaction.”

Court Denies Appeal To Force FCC Decision On Standard General-Tegna Deal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied Standard General’s petition asking the court to force the FCC to vote on its proposed acquisition of Tegna before its financing expires on May 22. The ruling appears likely to kill $8.6 billion acquisition.

Standard General-Tegna Up Deal Commitment Ante

Looking to try and give the FCC some way to say “yes” on their planned merger, Standard General and Tegna have added what they said are “unprecedented” commitments to the unions — TNG-NABET — attempting to block it at the commission. While the companies have already said they have no plans for layoffs, they have now committed to no newsroom layoffs for at least three years, up from the two years over which they had already pledged not to have “headcount” reductions in their newsrooms.

Standard General Files Brief Asking Court To Force FCC To Rule on Tegna Deal

Standard General and Tegna filed their reply brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to force the FCC to rule in their proposed merger before financing expires on May 22, effectively killing the deal. The FCC and its Media Bureau have been examining the deal since last February, an unprecedentedly lengthy review and twice as long as the FCC’s guidelines.

GOP Legislators Grill FCC’s Rosenworcel On Standard General-Tegna Hearing Designation

Top Republicans on FCC oversight committees say the FCC’s Media Bureau decision to designate the Standard General-Tegna deal for hearing before an administrative law judge was unfair and a violation of a congressional charge to “promote competition and reduce regulation.” They want the FCC to answer a host of questions related to the decision.

One Of Standard General’s Appeals Of FCC’s Media Bureau Action Is Dismissed

One of Standard General’s appeals to get its acquisition of Tegna approved by the FCC before its financing expires on May 22 was dismissed Monday by a panel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit judges.

Unions Oppose Expedited Court Review Of FCC’s Standard General-Tegna Decision

Opponents of the Standard General-Tegna merger say the companies’ application for “emergency” expedited court review of the FCC’s designation of the deal to a hearing before an administrative law judge should be rejected. In opposition to an expedited court review of the FCC decision filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, The NewsGuild, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA, United Church of Christ and Common Cause, told the court that the designation is not an appealable final order.

Appeals Court Speeds Up Standard General, Tegna Proceeding

Standard General is getting an accelerated proceeding from the D.C. Court of Appeals after filing a lawsuit against the FCC that in part seeks to overturn the commission’s move to send the firm’s proposed acquisition of broadcaster Tegna to an administrative law judge for further review.

Standard General Asks Court To Review FCC Media Bureau’s Move To Kill Tegna Deal

Standard General said it filed a lawsuit asking a U.S. Appeals Court to order the FCC to reverse a decision by its Media Bureau to extend the review of its acquisition of Tegna and to instruct the commission to approve the $8.6 billion deal. “That superficially procedural directive (the hearing order) is in substance a denial of the broadcasters’ license-transfer applications,” Standard General said in its filings. “And by refusing to countermand the Media Bureau’s action — despite the broadcasters’ urgent requests — the FCC has embraced that de facto denial as its own. The commission will thus derail the deal without having  to justify that denial and back it up with substantial record evidence.”

COMMENTARY BY SOO KIM

Standard General’s Soo Kim: FCC Denies Due Process, Turns Its Back on Local Broadcast News

Soo Kim, managing partner of Standard General, calls the FCC Media Bureau’s decision to refer his company’s proposed $1.6 billion acquisition of Tegna to review by an administrative law judge an “unaccountable power grab.”

Standard General Makes Formal Appeal To FCC On Tegna Deal

Standard General, Tegna and Cox Media Group on Friday formally filed an application asking the Federal Communications Commission to review its Media Bureau’s decision to have a administrative law judge hold a hearing on Standard General’s pending acquisition of Tegna.

Standard General-Tegna Deal Gets Support From Union Local

While a couple of powerful unions have fought hard against the Standard General-Tegna merger, the fate of which is currently in the hands of an administrative law judge (ALJ), one local chapter of the International Union of Operating Engineers is a big backer of the transaction. In a letter to the FCC, Edward Curly, business manager of Local 501 of the IOUE, representing workers in Southern California and Southern Nevada, said Standard General and managing partner Soo Kim have been big supporters of organized labor and he expects no less from the merged companies. Kim has also said the company has had good relationships with unions.

Unions Oppose Standard General-Tegna Review Petition

Various unions that opposed the Standard General-Tegna merger have told the FCC that it should not review a Media Bureau decision to refer the deal to an administrative law judge over FCC questions about the deal’s impact on retransmission consent and localism. That came in a petition filed Thursday by NABET-CWA and The News Guild, which oppose the merger.

NAACP Official Slams FCC’s Tegna Deal Hearing Designation

Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference and former NAACP national president, has joined a growing chorus of critics of the FCC Media Bureau’s decision to designate Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna for hearing.

Standard General’s Legal Moves Unlikely To Rescue Tegna Deal, Former FCC Lawyer Says

Standard General’s latest legal maneuvers are “highly unlikely” to succeed in rescuing Standard General’s proposed acquisition of Tegna, which is close to being killed by a long regulatory review, according to former FCC Chief of Staff Blair Levin.

FCC’s Standard General-Tegna Merger Designation Could Prompt Constitutional Challenge

There are definite rumblings inside the Beltway that the current FCC may have teed up a constitutional challenge to the long-standing public-interest standard.

OPEN MIKE BY MARK FOWLER

FCC’s Blow To Standard General-Tegna Deal Is Runaway Regulation

Former FCC Chairman Mark Fowler on the commission ordering a Media Bureau formal hearing on the Standard General-Tegna merger: “The commission has applied the standard in an unprecedented, unconstitutional way by modifying the intended purpose of the statute to its customized purpose.”

JESSELL AT LARGE

Killing Of Tegna Deal Underscores Rosenworcel’s Misconception Of TV Broadcasting

The FCC chairwoman doesn’t see (or doesn’t care) that by weakening retrans, she is chipping away at the viability of the station business and a “cornerstone” of the agency’s longstanding broadcast policy: localism.

NAB ‘Alarmed’ By Delays In Tegna-Standard General Deal Review

Curtis LeGeyt, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters expressed alarm at the “needlessly prolonged” regulatory review of Standard General’s proposed acquisition of Tegna. After more than a year, the FCC’s Media Bureau referred the transaction to an administrative law judge, a move that will delay potential approval of the deal and possibly kill it.

Standard General Wants Full FCC Vote On Delayed Tegna Acquisition

Standard General, whose proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna has been tied up in a review by the FCC for more than a year, is calling on the full FCC to vote on approving the transaction immediately rather than delaying the deal further.

Tegna Stock Plunges After FCC Sends Standard General Deal To Judge

Tegna stock plunged 25% in after hours trading after the FCC’s Media Bureau sent Standard General’s $8.6 billion agreement to buy Tegna to be reviewed by an administrative law judge on Feb. 24. The move – extending an already lengthy regulatory review of the acquisition – was seen as a blow to the deal, making it less likely to be cleared and closed.

FCC Designates Standard General-Tegna Deal For Hearing

In a blow to the prospects for the Standard General-Tegna-Cox Media transaction, the FCC’s Media Bureau has designated the deal for hearing before an administrative law judge. Chairwoman “Jessica Rosenworcel has just killed the deal,” said one former top broadcast official at the news of the hearing designation.

COMMENTARY BY GIL CISNEROS

Gil Cisneros: Standard General-Tegna Merger Offers New Ideas, Needed Diversity

Gil Cisneros, CEO of the Chamber of the Americas, says the proposed merger will give local TV a much-needed boost.

Byron Allen Reportedly Courting Democrats To Derail Tegna Buyout

Media mogul Byron Allen appears to be courting major Democratic politicians once again as he attempts to stop hedge fund Standard General’s $8.6 billion acquisition of TV station giant Tegna, according to a prominent Beltway research firm. Last Friday he hosted an event at his Los Angeles home for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) with guests that also included Nancy Pelosi.

Standard General’s Soo Kim Defends His Delayed $8.6 Billion Tegna Acquisition

Regulatory hurdles, opposition, continue to thwart deal closure. Kim reiterates his reasons for urging approval before a Feb. 22 fee kicks in, saying Standard General is committed to not reducing staffing at any of the stations it’s acquiring for at least two years as well as increasing local news production in those markets.

NCTA Offers Edits For Standard General-Tegna Deal Conditions

Cable operators say various commitments made by Standard General to address their concerns about its deal to acquire station group Tegna need to be modified and expanded before the FCC considers signing off on the $8 billion-plus merger. NCTA–The Internet & Television Association has signaled to the FCC in comments on those commitments that while Standard General was close to addressing NCTA’s concerns, it was not ready to hand out cigars.

Standard General’s Soo Kim Seeks Meeting With Deal Critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Standard General managing partner Soo Kim has asked to meet with Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the legislator wrote to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel last week asking the FCC to block Standard General’s proposed purchase of Tegna assets for north of $8 billion.

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Urges FCC To Block Standard General-Tegna Deal

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the FCC urging it to block Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna. In her letter, Warren said “the parties themselves have acknowledged that this deal is likely to produce anticompetitive effects,” including higher prices, worker layoffs and collusion.

Standard General, Tegna Launch Website Promoting Merger

With the FCC still vetting their proposed merger after more than half a year, Standard General and Tegna have launched sgandtegna.com, a website to promote what they see as the public-interest benefits of the deal. The site is a way for the merger partners to consolidate various letters to the commission and statements of support for the transaction in one place, and combine that with their pitch that the combo will boost local journalism and minority ownership of the media, both key FCC public-interest goals.