Sinclair Broadcast Group received bids for as many as 10 television stations that could fetch up to $1 billion as it takes steps to win approval of its proposed merger with Tribune Media, people familiar with the matter say. Preliminary bids for the stations were submitted last week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process wasn’t public. Sinclair may sell some or all of the outlets, all in different markets, the people said.
I worry that as we focus on Russian bots on Twitter influencing elections, we’re ignoring a bigger threat to democracy and the political process right here at home: the proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group with Tribune Media Co. Imagine what could happen to politics if Sinclair becomes the dominant local news gatekeeper.
Sunday’s Boston Globe argued against the proposed merger on its editorial page. “Anyone who cares about the state of our democracy, then, should care about what’s happening with local television. And that makes right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group’s bid to acquire Tribune Media’s 42 television stations a matter of urgent concern. An expansion of that size isn’t in the public interest, and federal regulators should move to block it.“
The trade group tells the FCC that the merged entity should be given restrictions on its ability to negotiate for retransmission consent fees as well as be forced to comply with existing media ownership limits, not “hoped-for” relaxed ownership limits.
They say the proposed merger if approved would “reduce viewpoint diversity and competition, harm localism and reduce jobs.”
The proposed $3.9 billion transaction has drawn fire from self-appointed “public interest” advocates who believe Sinclair is not committed to local broadcasting; cable and satellite operators who feel the scale will give Sinclair too much leverage in retransmission consent negotiations; and from T-Mobile, which believes Sinclair is trying to slow the repack of the TV band. Sinclair dismisses each of the charges in turn in an FCC filing.
House Democrats are demanding answers from the FCC about its “favorable treatment” of Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has been cashing in on a series of agency moves that are easing restrictions on its control of television stations. In a 12-page letter sent to Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Diana DeGette (Colo.) seized on multiple media reports detailing how the agency has been delivering on Sinclair’s deregulatory wish list.
Tribune stations have found success in using Facebook’s Instant Articles publishing tool. Facebook says the station group’s strategy to post stories as Instant Articles, fast-loading stories that show up in viewers’ Facebook feeds, has boosted engagement.
The dip to $466.1 million was due to lower core and political ad dollars but was largely offset by a 26% increase in retrans revenue.
Newsmax and The Blaze are among the outlets that have joined left-leaning critics of the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposal to acquire Tribune Media.
A coalition of TV and media industry entities is urging the FCC to reject Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, arguing that the combination would “produce a TV station behemoth that is unprecedented in both local and national size and power.”
On Monday, an alliance of representatives from diverse corners of the media industry will come together to hold a press call announcing their FCC filings in opposition to the Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media merger and reiterating their strong commitment to protecting independent local news. As a group, these representatives will call for the Sinclair-Tribune merger to be rejected.
Tribune Media Co. said Monday afternoon that it has sold the majority of its ownership stake in CareerBuilder, as Tegna completed the sale of CareerBuilder to an investor group led by investment funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. As a participant in the sale, Tribune Media will receive approximately $158 million in cash and will retain an approximate 7% ownership stake in CareerBuilder on a fully-diluted basis.
While I would expect the American Cable Association and Dish to object to Sinclair’s proposed merger with Tribune, I am surprised that Newsmax and One America News are piling on. The right-wing news operations may be worried that a much larger Sinclair will blow past them in the race to supplant Fox News as the go-to conservative channel. But it doesn’t excuse their using the regulatory processes of the FCC to try to derail the merger and stunt Sinclair’s growth.
Newsmax Media wants the FCC to slow its review of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, saying the deal raises concerns about media concentration. “I am calling for delay,” Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, a conservative outlet with a 24-hour cable news channel, said in an interview. “I think it needs more vetting.”
While diginets still have some hurdles to face — such as rising program license fees — they have captured the attention of general-market advertisers and they are looking forward to the rollout of the upcoming ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard with its expanded capacity. What’s more, the multicast networks are relieved that the FCC’s incentive auction and ongoing repack of the TV band isn’t affecting their station carriage deals to any significant extent.
Seeking class-action status, Tribune Media shareholder Sean McEntire accuses Tribune of giving stockholders incomplete and misleading information about the deal, including failing to provide portions of the companies’ financial projections, the value of another bid for Tribune Media and other details of the process leading to the merger agreement, according to court records.
Between January and May, Nexstar outbid Sinclair three times in an effort to buy Tribune Media, but in the final round on May 6, Sinclair won the prize with with an offer of $43 per share, $2 more than Nexstar, according to an SEC filing, The only other serious bidder was Fox, but it dropped out before the final rounds, the filing says.
Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune Media, the fourth-largest TV deal of the century, accounts for 85% of that total, according to Kagan.
The just-disclosed paperwork for the $6.6 billion Sinclair purchase of Tribune Media says Sinclair may have to sell stations in 10 markets to comply with the FCC local rule and an unspecified number more to come into line with the national cap. “To the extent that divestitures may be necessary, applications will be filed upon locating appropriate buyers and signing appropriate purchase agreements,” the parties say. But they note that their need to sell stations may change if the FCC relaxes its rules.
Tribune Broadcasting President Larry Wert has been named “Broadcaster of the Year” by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Additionally, Tribune’s WGN-AM was named Chicago Market Station of the Year, the station’s tenth consecutive year of honor by the IBA. Wert became the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s 32nd Vincent T. Wasilewski “Broadcaster of the Year” as part of […]
Senate Democrats have asked for a special hearing on Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion deal for Tribune Media, and Sinclair has welcomed the chance to work with legislators. Rebecca Hanson, Sinclair VP of strategy and policy, said the broadcaster is looking forward to showing policymakers the benefits the Tribune deal has in store for consumers and communities. But she also warned that the deal is necessary for broadcasters like Sinclair to keep pace with larger pay-TV operators.
When Sinclair melds with Tribune, it will surpass the Fox station group in terms of market reach and becomes, I believe, the first stop of syndicators selling new shows. It will be able to deliver a program to at least two-thirds of the nation’s TV homes all by itself. And Sinclair will have even more muscle in negotiating terms. In fact, it will be in a position to demand equity in the shows it agrees to carry.
With the addition of the Spanish-language broadcaster, the new group will reach approximately 90% of the U.S. with its effort to promote innovation and develop and explore products and services associated with ATSC 3.0 and their monetization opportunities.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has struck a deal with Tribune Media to buy dozens of local TV stations. And what Fox News is for cable, Sinclair could become for broadcast: programming with a soupcon — or more — of conservative spin.
The proposed acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group of Tribune Media is inflaming criticism of the FCC, which helped pave the way for the deal by relaxing media ownership restrictions. Activists immediately pounced on the arrangement after the deal was announced.
A group of House Democrats are calling for a hearing on the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Co. Minority members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — Reps. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Doris Matsui (Calif.) — called for the acquisition to be scrutinized by the panel, especially in the wake of a recent FCC vote.
With Tribune, Sinclair goes from a large collection of TV stations to a national broadcasting platform with ambitions that go far beyond those of the Big Four networks. And that larger footprint, Sinclair figures, will allow it to roll out game-changing innovations including ATSC 3.0, mobile datacasting and targeted interactive advertising. These all have the potential to remake the entire television broadcasting business into a force that can vigorously compete with online and mobile.
The drop to $436 million is tagged to a $17.7 million decrease in net core ad revenue and a $13.7 million decrease in net political ad revenue, and was partially offset by an increase in retrans revenues of $10.7 million, or 13%, and an increase in carriage fee revenues of $2.6 million, or 8%.
Nexstar CEO Perry Sook told analysts today: “We made an appraisal of Tribune at some point,” he said. “I think you can safely assume since we weren’t announced as the winning bidder yesterday it’s because the price crossed our walking-away threshold.”
Two months ago, Sinclair warned its viewers about the media’s ‘fake news.’ Now it’s about to take over some of the nation’s biggest stations. Aside from concerns about Sinclair’s political leanings, critics of the Sinclair-Tribune deal also worry about the effects from the increasing consolidation of broadcast station owners.
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley says the best way to think of the deal is that Sinclair is paying $6.5 billion when Tribune’s debt is factored in, but that there is between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in “non-core” assets that when subtracted brings down the price for the core assets (stations and WGN America) to between $4 billion and $4.5 billion or around 7 times EBITDA.
The Sinclair Broadcast Group is near a deal to buy Tribune Media, people briefed on the matter said Sunday, as it seeks to expand its empire of local television stations in the wake of rule changes by the Trump administration. Sinclair is expected to pay about $44 a share for Tribune, one of those briefed said, valuing the company at about $3.8 billion. A deal could be announced as soon as Monday, although talks were continuing, leaving the possibility that an agreement might not materialize.
Tribune Broadcasting recently reversed its policy of reticence when it comes to discussing technology, and what a story the station group has to tell. Motivated by a desire to shrink its tech spending dramatically and shed costly maintenance contracts, Hank Hundemer, Tribune SVP of engineering (above), launched an ambitious engineering project to create and maintain a homebrew newsroom system and master control that the group began to deploy in 2008.
The entertainment giant’s interest in the owner of more than 40 stations could position it well for an expansion of internet TV.
21st Century Fox’s plan to form a joint venture with Blackstone to buy Tribune Media would create value from cost synergies and by putting Fox into six more NFL markets, says the securities research firm. What’s more, it blocks Sinclair from acquiring the Tribune stations — a move that would boost Sinclair’s national programming ambitions and get it more leverage in reverse comp dealings.
21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday. The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture.