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FCC Chairperson Pai Seeks Permission for Nexstar-Tribune Merger Deal

Federal Communications Commission chairperson Ajit Pai Friday sought approval from his associates to order the go-ahead for Nexstar Media Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media in a $6.4 billion tie-up, a spokesperson for the agency stated.

In August, the U.S. Justice Department accredited the contract, saying the businesses must divest TV stations in 13 marketplaces to fix antitrust issues. Pai’s order circulated Friday needs the approval of a majority of the five-member FCC.

Nexstar said in December it had agreed to purchase Chicago stationed Tribune for $4.1 billion in a contract worth $6.4 billion including debt that would make it the most prominent regional U.S. TV station operator. Tribune said earlier in August it seems to be forward to receiving “regulatory permissions” for the contract soon.

Sinclair Broadcast Group beforehand didn’t win approval to purchase Tribune. The news agency ended its contract with Sinclair in August 2018 and filed a case arguing that Sinclair harmed efforts to get the transaction approved by taking too long and being too aggressive in its dealings with administrators.

Stationed in Irving, Texas, Nexstar owns, controls and gives sales and different services to 174 TV stations reaching almost 39% of all U.S. TV households. Nexstar said in March it was selling 19 TV stations to Tegna and E.W. Scripps for $1.3 billion to fulfill administrative demands before it buys Tribune.

Tribune Media owns and operates 42 local TV stations reaching roughly 50 million households. Tribune rose from bankruptcy in late 2012 and completed a spin-out of its newspaper assets in 2014.

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