Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) has announced plans to acquire New York-based Tribune Media Co. (NYSE: TRCO) in a $3.9 billion deal. Tribune owns or operates 42 television stations throughout the country, including WXIN-TV and WTTV-TV in Indianapolis.
As part of the acquisition, Sinclair will also assume $2.7 billion in net debt from Tribune. Sinclair owns WSBT-TV in South Bend.
The acquisition has been approved by the boards of directors for both companies. Tribune says its stockholders will receive $35 in cash and 0.23 shares of Sinclair Class A common stock for each share of Tribune Class A and Class B common stock they own.
"(This) is the culmination of an extensive strategic review, which has delivered significant value to our stockholders," said Peter Kern, chief executive officer of Tribune. "Since we announced the strategic review 15 months ago, we have streamlined the business, monetized non-core assets, strengthened our balance sheet and returned more than $800 million to stockholders — all of which has resulted in a 50% increase in stockholder value. We are extremely proud to join Sinclair, and we’re excited that Tribune stockholders and employees will have the opportunity to participate in the long-term growth of the combined company."
The companies expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter. The acquisition remains subject to approval by Tribune’s shareholders, as well as the Federal Communications Commission and antitrust clearance.
Sinclair says it may sell certain stations in markets in which it already owns stations in an effort to comply with FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations. The company says it will determine which stations will be affected during the regulatory approval process.