Nexstar acquires Tribune Media for a whopping $4.1B

December 4, 2018

Nexstar Media Group announced Monday it will buy Tribune’s 42 television stations and more in an all-cash, $4.1B deal.

Still awaiting approval, the deal would give Nexstar stations in 8 of the nation’s 10 largest markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The company will own more than 200 TV stations and cover 39% of US households.

In other words, Nexstar would become the nation’s largest TV station company.

Patience paid off for Tribune

Tribune called off its proposed $3.9B deal with Sinclair Broadcast after critics raised allegations of “ideological favoritism” for the Trump administration back in April.

Tribune Media sued Sinclair after the FCC accused it of arranging fake divestitures of certain stations required to curb antitrust concerns.

Cut to: 8 months later, and Tribune makes out with an even bigger deal from Nexstar (including the assumption of its debt, the total deal is valued at $6.4B).

Sounds like a lot of control for one media company

That’s because it is.

See, Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed FCC chairman, eased restrictions on companies to acquire more stations in the same market in ways that, according to NPR, seemed to directly benefit Sinclair at the time (see “ideological favoritism” link above).

But Democratic lawmakers took issue over Pai’s interactions with Sinclair and White House officials, the deal fell through, and now Nexstar is reaping the rewards.

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