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Sinclair still mulling Tribune options; plans to fight price-fixing suits

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said it is still working with its takeover target Tribune Media Co. "to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees and shareholders."

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission referred the proposed deal to an administrative law judge for review, a process that could take a long time and for that reason is viewed by many as sounding a death knell for the transaction. In making the decision, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that after a thorough review, he felt that some of the broadcast TV station divestitures proposed by Sinclair as part of the deal would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, which would be a "violation of the law."

Turning to other legal matters, Sinclair noted on Aug. 8 that it intends to defend itself "vigorously" against three putative class-action lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court against the company, Tribune Media, Tribune Broadcasting Co. LLC and other defendants. The suits accused the defendants of conspiring to fix prices for advertisements to be aired on broadcast television stations throughout the U.S.