BALTIMORE & CHICAGO—News started buzzing over the weekend that Sinclair was nearing a deal to acquire Tribune Media, and now that news has been confirmed. Sinclair Broadcast Group will acquire 100 percent of Tribune Media Company for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in net debt, according to a press release from Tribune.
Tribune’s 42 television stations across 33 markets will now fall under the Sinclair banner, as well as cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV and a minority stake in the TV Food Network. Sinclair will also pick up Tribune assets not involved in the broadcast industry.
Under the terms of the agreement, Tribune stockholders will receive $35 in cash and 0.23 shares of Sinclair Class A common stock for each share of Tribune Class A common stock and Class B common stock they own.
“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets. The acquisition will enable Sinclair to build ATSC 3.0 (Next Generation Broadcast Platform) advanced services, scale emerging networks and national sales, and integrate content vehicles. The acquisition will also create substantial synergistic value through operating efficiencies, revenue streams, programming strategies and digital platforms.”
Sinclair may sell certain stations in markets where it currently owns stations to comply with FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations; these determinations will be determined during the regulatory approval process.
The deal has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors for both companies and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.