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FCC seeks new comments on proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said May 21 it will take new comments from the public on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s pending acquisition of Tribune Media Co.

The FCC is reopening its review of the merger for comments after Sinclair in April agreed to sell certain TV stations in an effort to obtain regulatory approval for its Tribune deal. The public has until July 12 to submit comments on the docket, the FCC said.

Sinclair said its stations were being sold to a handful of parties, including 21st Century Fox Inc. Standard Media Group LLC, an affiliate of Standard General LP; Meredith Corp.; Howard Stirk Holdings, owned by long-time Sinclair partner Armstrong Williams; and Cunningham Broadcasting Corp., which is owned by the estate of Carolyn Smith, the mother of Sinclair Chairman David Smith; and Steven Fader, CEO at Atlantic Automotive.

Sinclair in May 2017 agreed to buy Tribune Media for $43.50 per share, for a total purchase price of about $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of about $2.7 billion in net debt. The FCC in January had paused its 180-day "shot clock" on the deal review process, noting that it was awaiting more information from Sinclair on potential divestitures that could impact regulators' decision.

The deal also needs approval from the U.S. Justice Department.