Tags: Financial Markets | sinclair | tribune | fcc | ajit pai | divestiture

Charlie Gasparino Slams $3.9B Sinclair Plan as 'Funky Divestiture'

(Fox Business' "Cavuto: Coast to Coast")

By    |   Wednesday, 18 July 2018 03:48 PM

Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino on Wednesday ripped as "funky divestiture" a plan that Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said it would revise to try to win federal regulatory approval of its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media Co.

"The FCC is investigating Sinclair on whether they have been candid with the commission about their divestiture plan," Gasparino told host Neil Cavuto.

"If the FCC says they were not candid, if this thing goes before administrative law judge — the way Sinclair was divesting from the networks — I tell you this is funky divestiture, if you look at it."

Sinclair, based near Baltimore, said Wednesday it would abandon or revise sales of its local TV stations in Chicago and Texas to appease the Federal Communications Commission, which effectively rejected its divestiture plan Monday.

Sinclair said it would stop its plan to sell WGN-TV in Chicago and it will not sell two Texas stations to Cunningham Broadcasting Corp., which had been controlled by the estate of the mother of a top Sinclair executive.

The stations in Dallas and Houston would go into a trust, for later sale, Sinclair said.

FCC Ajit Pai on Monday sent the proposed deal to an administrative law judge for a hearing, citing possible misrepresentations or lack of candor regarding Sinclair's proposed sale of WGN-TV to a car dealer who is a business associate of a top Sinclair executive.

"They will basically amend the way they are divesting from certain stations to address the FCC's concerns — which, by the way — didn't just put a damper on but almost killed this deal to buy Tribune," Gasparino told Cavuto.

"The FCC said 'no' on the divestiture plan."

Newsmax Media Inc., the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the watchdog group Free Press, and the American Cable Association have filed statements opposing the proposed merger.

Newsmax argued the plan's divestiture provisions were "sham transactions," contending the provision would return control of the spun-off stations to the broadcast company despite nominal ownership by another party.

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said in a statement Wednesday: "The FCC and public shouldn't be fooled by this last-minute effort by Sinclair.

"They must reject it."

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Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said it would revise to try to win federal regulatory approval of its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media Co., a "funky divestiture," according to Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino on Wednesday.
sinclair, tribune, fcc, ajit pai, divestiture
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2018-48-18
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 03:48 PM
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