FCC delays review of Sinclair's purchase of Tribune

FCC delays review of Sinclair's purchase of Tribune
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is again delaying its review of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media.

The FCC said Thursday it would be pausing its informal 180-day “shot clock” for the merger so that Sinclair can consider selling off some of its assets.

Michelle Carey, the FCC’s media bureau chief, made the announcement in a letter to Sinclair’s attorneys, saying the pause went into effect Jan. 4.

Carey said FCC officials met with Sinclair executives to discuss the merger and a separate review by the Justice Department.

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The FCC sets an informal goal to review these types of transactions within 180 days. The agency also paused the clock for 15 days in October to allow for more public input.

This time, however, the FCC did not set a date for the clock to resume.

Critics have accused FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of rolling back media ownership restrictions in order to pave the way for the deal, which will give Sinclair access to about 70 percent of the nation’s television audience. Pai has denied those accusations.

A spokesman for Pai declined to comment.