It's also suing Sinclair for breach of contract.
Tribune is seeking an amount "including but not limited to approximately $1 billion of lost premium to Tribune's stockholders and additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial". Tribune claims Sinclair used "unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations" with the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission over regulatory requirements and refused to sell the stations it needed to.
Sinclair owns or operates 173 broadcast TV stations in 81 markets, while Tribune has 42 stations in 33 markets. Subsequently, the FCC voted to subject Sinclair's divesture plan to a hearing before an administrative law judge, further delaying completion of the transaction. If no divestitures were made, "the combined company would reach 72 percent of United States television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group", the FCC notes.
There was still a slim chance that Sinclair could save the merger because the FCC referred the deal to an administrative law judge.
"In light of (the FCC order), this transaction can not be completed within an acceptable time frame, if ever", Kern said.
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On Wednesday, Sinclair said it remained in discussions with Tribune about how to secure FCC approval of the deal, which has drawn wide-ranging criticism from across the political spectrum for how it would give the company access to so much of the nation's broadcast market.
Sinclair has defended the decision to have its anchors read from the same script across the country as a way to distinguish its news shows from unreliable stories on social media.
The FCC raised questions after Sinclair had proposed to sell WGN to Maryland auto dealer Steven Fader, a longtime business associate of Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith, as Sinclair would largely continue to operate the station under a services agreement.
In a surprise move in July, however, Pai said he had "serious concerns" and suggested Sinclair was trying to hide anticompetitive practices in its proposed purchase and divestiture of certain stations.
"While what has apparently killed this deal was Sinclair's pattern of deception at the FCC - a fact that should affect its future dealings at the Commission - the deal was bad on its own merits, and this latest development is good for consumers", said Phillip Berenbroick, senior policy counsel at the organization. "This deal would have contributed to the trend where "local" news and "local" programming is created or scripted out of town". "Broadcasters are supposed to serve their local communities".