Sinclair Countersues Tribune Media Over Failed Merger

Sale of Tribune’s stations to Sinclair was scuttled earlier this month after the FCC opposed the deal

Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair Broadcast Group filed a countersuit Wednesday against Tribune Media for what it said was a breach of contract following a failed merger.

Tribune pulled the plug on the $3.9 billion sale to Sinclair earlier this month and sued Sinclair for $1 billion, accusing Sinclair of botching the deal using “belligerent and unnecessarily protracted negotiations.”

The deal was scuttled in July after the Federal Communications Commission questioned Sinclair’s transparency over its planned sale of some stations.

In its counterclaim, filed in Delaware Court of Chancery, Sinclair rejected Tribune’s argument, suggesting that the deal was very close to winning government approval, blaming Tribune for what it said was a “deliberate effort to exploit and capitalize on an unfavorable and unexpected reaction from the FCC to capture a windfall for Tribune.”

In a statement Wednesday, Tribune called Sinclair’s counterclaim “entirely meritless and simply an attempt to distract from its own significant legal exposure resulting from its persistent violations of Tribune’s contractual rights.”

In May, 2017, Sinclair announced it agreed to buy Tribune’s 42 television stations in 33 markets as well as cable network WGN America, which would have allowed the company to reach about 70 percent of American households.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.