A merger that would have given a access to 73 percent of US hs is officiy dead. Today, the Tribune announced that it has terminated its $3.9 billion merger agreement with Sinclr Broadcast Group, and is suing Sinclr for $1 billion for breach of contr.

Last month the Federal s Commission unanimously decided not to rove the merger, which was announced in 2017 after the ncy loosened its ownership rules. The decided to refer the case to an administrative , essentiy dooming the deal.

Despite the relaed ownership rules, Sinclr, which owns 173 stations across the country, would still have been requi to sell off a few stations to complete the merger with Tribune, which owns 42 stations. The eged in the order referring the case to a that Sinclr misled the ncy about its efforts to sell off those . For eample, the ncy cited the prod transfer of WGN- in to a man named n Fader, who the clms has no prior eperience and is the of a in which Sinclr’s cman has a con interest.

"In the Merger Agreement, Sinclr committed to use its able best efforts to obtn regulatory roval as promptly as possible, including agreeing in advance to divest stations in certn mkets as necessy or advisable for regulatory roval," the Tribune sd in a statement eging that Sinclr doomed the merger's of roval by engaging in lengthy, aggressive, and unnecessy negotiations with the and the in an effort to uce the number of stations it would be forced to divest. "Sinclr’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the Merger Agreement and, but for Sinclr’s ions, the traction could have closed ago."

"We unequivocy stand by our position that we did not mis the with respect to the traction or in any way than with complete candor and transpency," Sinclr prent and Chris Ripley sd in a statement. "As for Tribune’s suit, we fully complied with our obligations under the merger agreement and tirelessly ed to close this traction. The suit described in Tribune’s filings today is entirely without merit, and we intend to defend agnst it vigorously."

The 's decision not to rove the merger followed the launch of an investigation by the 's general, its internal dog, over decisions made by c Ajit P that were widely seen as benefitting Sinclr. P's office declined to comment, and Sinclr did not respond to a request for comment.

The merger was always controversial due to Sinclr's close ties to , who ced the 's decision not to rove the deal " and unfr" in a tweet. In late 2016, Politico reported that Ja Kushner, 's son-in-, clmed to have struck a deal with Sinclr for favorable s cover. The broadcaster also frequently requires its stations, which local affiliates of four broadcast , to r "must-run" segments by dits such as former administration Boris Epshteyn, a price that received nationwide attention after Deadspin published a mont highing clips one of these segments.

It seem strange to worry so much about the fate of broadcast tele in the era, but a 2016 Pew study found that local was still the most common way get s. And while the Tribune deal is dead, Sinclr could continue to benefit from the relaxed ownership the is enabling.

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