Sinclair Selling Off Stations To Land Tribune

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The sale is part of Sinclair's broader plan to divest stations in connection with the closing of its merger with Tribune Media Company ("Tribune").

Sinclair, which wants to secure regulatory approval on the $3.9 billion deal, has landed deals to sell 23 stations in 18 markets to different buyers. The announcement appears to signal that World Health Organization, which is owned by Tribune, would become part of Sinclair.

"We've always known Sinclair was going to have to sell some units to eliminate duplication and to not have monopoly power over more than 39 percent" of USA viewership to comply with Federal Communications Commission, Loyola University finance professor Karryl Leggio told The Baltimore Sun.

However, the list does not mention WPIX-TV in New York City being sold to Cunningham Broadcasting, which is owned by the estate of Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith's mother, Carolyn Smith.

Although Sinclair did not reveal the financial terms for its divestitures, Meredith in a separate announcement said that it paid $65 million for KPLR-TV, the CW affiliate in the St. Louis market.

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"The sales are part of Sinclair's larger acquisition of Tribune Media Company, in order to obtain necessary governmental approval of the Tribune transaction", the companies said Tuesday in a press release.

So basically Sinclair would keep owning two St. Louis stations; they would just be different than the two it now owns, even as Meredith doubles its local portfolio.

Cunningham Broadcasting singed on to buy Tribune's CW affiliated stations KDAF and KIAH in the No. 5 Dallas and No. 7 Houston markets, respectively.

After the transaction, Deb McDermott will be the CEO of Standard Media Group. "While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step forward in our plan to create a leading broadcast platform with local focus and national reach".

The company said it anticipates closing near the end of the second quarter of this year.

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