Sinclair-Tribune Merger Goes Belly-Up as Tribune Sues Sinclair For ‘Repeatedly and Willfully’ Breaching Contract

The Sinclair-Tribune mega-merger appears to be dead.

Tribune Media announced in a statement (via CNN) that it has terminated its merger agreement with the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair was to have acquired Tribune for a hefty $3.9 billion price tag — in a move that would have added dozens of local stations to the roughly 200 which are already in its portfolio.

The deal began to come under heavy FCC scrutiny in July. According to The New York Times, FCC chair Ajit Pai said he had “serious concerns” about the proposed merger. Complicating matters is that Pai is under investigation for relaxing FCC rules to allow groups like Sinclair to add more stations.

Sinclair has been the subject of controversy for forcing its stations to air pro-Donald Trump editorials former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, and even requiring anchors on its stations to record anti-media mission statements.

In the lawsuit filing (via CNN), Tribune alleges that Sinclair “repeatedly and willfully breached its contractual obligations in spectacular fashion.” The lawsuit could be costly. Tribune is seeking an amount “including but not limited to approximately $1 billion of lost premium to Tribune’s stockholders and additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”

[featured photo via Getty Images]

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