Nexstar is buying Tribune Media for $4.1 billion. The merger, if approved, will create the largest local US TV station operator. Nexstar owns or operates 174 TV stations in 100 markets, reaching 39 percent of households. Tribune owns or operates 42 local stations, reaching 50 million households, and also owns the cable network WGN America and other digital platforms.
The deal comes shortly after Tribune Media withdrew from its $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcasting in August 2018. That merger received significant opposition from across the political spectrum, including from NABET-CWA, which represents 10,000 employees in the broadcast industry. Tribune is now suing Sinclair for derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the likely incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, expressed concerns that “[i]n addition to eliminating direct competition in more than a dozen local markets, this merger would undoubtedly lead to mass layoffs in newsrooms at a time when our free and diverse press is already under assault.”
Exclusive: Nexstar clinches $4.1 billion deal to acquire Tribune Media - sources (Reuters, Dec. 2, 2018)
The Sinclair-Tribune merger is dead (Speed Matters, Aug. 9, 2018)
Opposition to Sinclair-Tribune merger grows on left and right (Speed Matters, Aug. 11, 2017)
Key house Democrat warns of mass newsroom layoffs with Nexstar’s Tribune acquisition (Variety, Dec. 3, 2018)