A media merger that has been speculated about since the NAB convention has happened. TV companies that got cash windfall from the spectrum auction are in a buying mood.
One such company is Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair owns around 200 TV station licenses. Sinclair received $313 million in cash by agreeing to free up the spectrum needed by wireless providers.
Sinclair is acquiring the post bankruptcy remains of Tribune Media, which owns WGN-AM in Chicago – one of the oldest radio stations in the country. Tribune was prohibited from buying other stations in major cities where it owned a daily newspaper because of FCC cross ownership rules from the 1930s. Tribune divested itself of the Chicago Cubs baseball team before it emerged from bankruptcy.
Tribune also has spun off the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinal newspapers in 2014. Sinclair is paying $3.6 billion for 39 TV licenses, WGN, and assorted cable TV properties like the Food Channel. This deal was possible only because the FCC reversed an Obama era decision to limit the nfluence of large TV companies.