Nexstar, Tribune announce $6.4 billion merger to create largest local TV company

Nexstar, Tribune announce $6.4 billion merger to create largest local TV company
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Nexstar Media Group has reached a deal to purchase Tribune Media Company in a $6.4 billion merger that would create the largest local television company in the country.

The two companies announced Monday that Nexstar would be paying about $4.1 billion for Tribune at a rate of $46.50 per share.

The announcement comes months after Sinclair Broadcast Group’s bid to acquire Tribune failed after regulators blocked it.

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Perry Sook, Nexstar’s CEO, indicated on Monday that he believed this deal had a better shot of clearing regulatory hurdles.

“We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate,” Sook said in a statement.

“As with our past transactions, we have developed a comprehensive regulatory compliance plan and believe we have a clear path to closing.”

Sook told analysts on a call Monday morning that he had already spoken to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to assure him that the two companies had a plan to comply with regulatory requirements.

Nexstar will obtain Tribune's 42 television stations, which reach around 50 million households, plus the cable network WGN America. 

The merger will need to be cleared by both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice. 

Sook said that he will be meeting with regulators soon to present a plan to divest from certain stations in order to keep the combined company at the national ownership limit capping companies from reaching more than 39 percent of the country's television-viewing audience. 

A spokeswoman for the FCC did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Updated at 10 a.m.