Sinclair Broadcast to buy Tribune Media in $3.9 billion deal

A woman walks past a WGN Radio window display on the side of Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Christopher Dilts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A woman walks past a WGN Radio window display on the side of Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Monday that it will acquire Tribune Media in a deal valued at $3.9 billion.

This news comes just weeks after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to reverse a 2016 decision that limited the number of television stations some broadcasters can buy.

Sinclair will acquire 100 percent of Tribune shares for $43.50 each, also assuming approximately $2.7 billion in net debt, the companies have agreed.

The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2017, and under the terms of the agreement Tribune stockholders will receive $35 in cash and 0.23 shares of Sinclair Class A common stock for each share of Tribune Class A common stock and Class B common stock that they own.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in a statement. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets.”

Reuters had reported on Sunday that the two companies were close to finalizing a deal. The $43.50 per share offer represents a nearly 8 percent premium to Tribune’s closing price on Friday.

Tribune Media has 42 owned or operated broadcast stations, as well as cable network WGN America, Tribune Studios and WGN-Radio. Sinclair, which has a market capitalization of $3.36 billion, owns, operates or provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets.

Shares of Tribune were trading more than 5 percent higher Monday morning following this announcement. Meanwhile, shares of Sinclair were briefly halted Monday pending the news and were set to resume trading at 9:50 a.m. ET.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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