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Tribune Media terminates merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.; Files lawsuit for breach of contract

CHICAGO – Tribune Media announced the termination of the proposed merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group early this morning and also filed a lawsuit against Sinclair for breach of contract.

Tribune Media is the parent company that owns WPMT FOX43 and several other local television stations across the country.

“In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever,” said Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s Chief Executive Officer. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the Merger Agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.”

The lawsuit seeks compensation for all losses incurred as a result of Sinclair’s material breaches of the merger agreement, according to a press release.The suit also alleges Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

On July 16th, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressed serious concerns about how Sinclair planned to sell off certain stations to comply with regulations. Pai said Sinclair executives may have shown a lack of candor in their dealings with the FCC. It was a surprise to some observers and seemed to be the death knell for the protracted merger that was first announced in May of 2017.

A copy of the lawsuit will be posted on the Tribune Media website as soon as it has been made publicly available by the court.