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Sinclair Buying Tribune Media After Outfoxing, Bidding Others

17 Mai 2017

USA broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc said on Monday it would buy Tribune Media Co, one of the largest US television station operators, for about $3.9 billion cash and stock, and assume about $2.7 billion in debt.

Sinclair Broadcast is set to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion in a deal announced on Monday, giving the conservative-leaning TV broadcaster nearly three-quarters of the local market nationwide.

Tribune shareholders are to receive $35 and 0.23 of a share of Sinclair common stock per share of Tribune stock; based on Fridayís closing price, thatís a total value of $43.50 a share, the Los Angeles Times reported. Most of Sinclair's existing stations are outside of major markets, which is one reason they were so interested in Tribune, which has big stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

"This acquisition will create a leading media platform that includes our country's largest markets and will further our commitment to connecting people with content everywhere", Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in an email to employees.

Early Monday morning stock trading had Sinclair's stock up 7% to $39.60 and Tribune stock 6% higher to $42.51. Year-to-date, TRCO has gained 46.67%, versus a 7.65% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

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Chicago-based Tribune owns KTLA in Los Angeles, WGN in Chicago and WPIX in NY and has stakes in the Food Network and job-search website CareerBuilder.

Shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. fell 83 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close Monday at $36.12. It also has minority stakes in the Food Network and the website CareerBuilder. Sinclair is already the nation's largest owner of local television stations, broadcasting in more than a quarter of USA homes, and similarly has a "right-leaning agenda". Sinclair said that it may have to divest stations in markets where it now owns stations in order to adhere to FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations.

"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 percent increase in stockholder value".

Sinclair has promoted conservative leaning programming and there is speculation the company might use its acquisition of the Tribune Media properties as a springboard to create a national network of its own to challenge Fox News.

Sinclair Buying Tribune Media After Outfoxing, Bidding Others