Sinclair Broadcast Group said it would sell TV stations in New York and Chicago to help get regulators’ approval for its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. Locally, it will sell KCPQ.
Sinclair Broadcast Group said it would sell TV stations in New York and Chicago to help get regulators’ approval for its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media — but the broadcaster also said it would still operate those crown jewels through service agreements.
Selling New York’s WPIX and Chicago’s WGN was presented in a Sinclair filing Wednesday as a way to help meet the Federal Communications Commission’s limit for national audience reach, by knocking the population of two big cities out of the calculations.
“It’ll be one of those arrangements where, for all intents and purposes, they still own and run the stations,” said Gigi Sohn, an FCC aide when the agency, under Democratic leadership in 2014, tried to restrict sharing techniques used by Sinclair and others. “It is a complete and total evasion of the rules.”
In the Seattle market, where a combined company would own top-ranked KOMO-TV as well as fourth-ranked KCPQ (Q13), the filing said “the parties intend to divest” KCPQ. They also intend to sell KCPQ sister station KZJO-TV, also known as JoeTV, but expect to ink a service agreement to operate the latter station.
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Fox Television Group is reportedly interested in acquiring KCPQ.
In Oregon, the filing says, Sinclair expects to keep both KATU-TV in Portland and KRCW-TV in Salem.