Tags: fox | blackstone | sinclair | tribune | television

Fox, Blackstone to Bid Against Sinclair for Tribune Television

Fox, Blackstone to Bid Against Sinclair for Tribune Television
James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox (Getty Images)

Monday, 01 May 2017 06:38 AM

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. is teaming with Blackstone Group LP to make an offer to acquire TV-station owner Tribune Media Co., rivaling a planned bid by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., people familiar with the situation said.

The all-cash bid would be funded by Blackstone, the largest manager of private equity and real estate assets, while Fox would contribute its TV stations to the joint venture that would acquire Tribune, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The two sides are in talks about a deal ahead of a deadline this week for final bids. No agreement has yet been reached.

Reuters, which also reported the plan based on sources, said bids are due Thursday.

Fox has been approached in recent weeks about backing an alternative to a takeover by Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair. which has been looking to acquire Chicago-based Tribune for a price said to be in the high-$30s a share. A combination of Tribune and Sinclair, two of the country's biggest TV station owners, would give Sinclair a stronger negotiating hand with Fox about how to split fees from cable providers.

Fox has a say in Tribune's destiny because it has to consent to the transfer of the company's affiliate agreements to a new owner, people familiar with the situation said previously.

Sinclair has been looking to finalize a deal by the time Tribune reports first-quarter earnings, which it's slated to do during the week of May 8. Tribune Media has a market capitalization of about $3.2 billion.

A takeover of Tribune by Fox or Sinclair was boosted by a decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Thursday to reinstate the so-called UHF discount, which would keep the emerging company under a cap that limits a single station owner's coverage of the country to 39 percent.

Tribune said April 20 that the action was "a welcome step towards creating a more level playing field for all local broadcasters in their relationships with television networks, satellite operators, cable providers, and streaming video services."

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Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. is teaming with Blackstone Group LP to make an offer to acquire TV-station owner Tribune Media Co., rivaling a planned bid by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., people familiar with the situation said.
fox, blackstone, sinclair, tribune, television
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2017-38-01
Monday, 01 May 2017 06:38 AM
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