Court order could hold up Sinclair purchase of Tribune TV stations

Court order could hold up Sinclair purchase of Tribune TV stations
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A federal appeals court’s decision on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to restore a media ownership rule could impede Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed purchase of Tribune Media.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Thursday to the FCC’s decision to bring back the UHF discount, which eases restrictions on the amount of stations a media company can own, a source told Variety.

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The stay will reportedly last through June 7, and will be reviewed by a three-judge panel.

Normal FCC regulations, sans UHF discount, stipulate that no sole company can own stations whose reach extends to over 39 percent of the U.S. The UHF discount allowed companies to only count half of their covered service area towards the 39 percent.

Sinclair and Tribune announced their deal in May, shortly after after the FCC reinstated the UHF discount in April.

The court said that the purpose of pausing the discount was to “give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay pending review,” and not to review its merits.

Sinclair and Tribune declined to comment on proceedings.