With Sinclair Gone, Is Tribune Buyer Or Seller?

The presumption of many is that it is still a seller, but Tribune CEO Peter Kern casts some doubt on that today, telling analysts that company may want to “enhance” its TV station portfolio.

In the wake of the monumental collapse of its merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern is not racing to find another way out of the broadcast business.

In fact, in a call with security analysts following release of its second-quarter results this morning, Kern said it may want to get in deeper. “We have a strong broadcast portfolio that potentially we may want to enhance.”

The regulatory environment is conducive for buying and selling, he said. The Sinclair merger cratered not because of “unwelcoming” regulators, but because of the way Sinclair dealt with them.

Just before the call, Tribune pronounced that its $3.9 billion merger was dead, having given up all hope that Sinclair could clear the deal with the FCC and the Justice Department.

It also sued Sinclair for breach of contract, alleging that its “aggressive tactics” in dealing with the regulators was the reason it couldn’t win their approval. In the suit, Tribune is asking for more than $1 billion in damages.

“So, we feel the environment remains welcoming and open to sensible consolidation and there’s a ton of activity out there … about other players being in the market,” Kern said.


“We really like our position. We are performing well and given our balance sheet, given our assortment of assets, we remain … open to all opportunities … in terms of further consolidation in the industry as well as pushing our businesses as hard as we can push them.”


Comments (9)

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Peter Van West says:

August 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Downgrade WGHP to 20 and let ABC return to 8 under new call letters. Downgrade to KPLR 11 and save KTVI 2 for CBS plus KMOV 4 gets ABC. If Fox doesn’t buy WVUE 8, it should be time to make WGNO the new Fox affiliate for New Orleans as in WGNO Fox 26 or Fox New Orleans which I believe in turn may force WVUE to switch to NBC and it’s about time! Let me also add that WDSU 6 gains ABC from WGNO. The House of Mouse gets the upgrade. YAY!

    Peter Van West says:

    August 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    News Flash: WXLV is staying with Sinclair but is still saying goodbye to ABC as it is upgraded to VHF channel 8 and under new call letters: WDIS (Disney eight Piedmont). This is because WGHP deserves a downgrade to UHF channel 20. There is no secondary market for the NFL here because there is no NFC team here. As for WXLV: Hello CW Piedmont!

hopeyoumakeit says:

August 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm

they will have a billion dollars of Sinclair’s money for a down payment.

    will says:

    August 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Actually under the terms of the merger agreement Tribune is on the hook for $135M; it wouldn’t be surprising if this lawsuit was little more than an attempt to get out from under their financial obligation to Sinclair.

      Benjamin says:

      August 9, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      No they’re not. Contractually, August 9th was the first date Tribune could kill the deal without incurring a penalty.

        will says:

        August 9, 2018 at 9:14 pm

        Ah, so you’re right. Seems Tribune wants to have its cake and eat it too!

DonDonP1 says:

August 9, 2018 at 7:08 pm

I hope Fox would still buy Seattle’s KCPQ *and* KZJO. I also hope CBS would buy the Cox-owned KIRO 7, so that it and KSTW CW 11 would become parts of a new duopoly.

Megatron81 says:

August 9, 2018 at 11:29 pm

It’s all spin from the Tribune CEO is all they are sellers and will be sold just my opinion I see no Tribune in 2020 as I said before they are selling.

Johnathan Williams says:

August 10, 2018 at 7:27 am

They need to sell..They are bad operators with no vision…from the top all throughout their company plus they hurt every market they are in with their bad sales staffs

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