Published in Breaking News

Parent company of WWMT to acquire owner of Grand Rapids-based Fox 17

BY MiBiz Staff Monday, May 08, 2017 09:36pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Fox 17 WXMI could soon share corporate ownership WWMT Newschannel 3, the Kalamazoo-based CBS affiliate.

Hunt Valley, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) said yesterday that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire all issued and outstanding shares in Chicago-based Tribune Media Co. (NYSE: TRCO) for $43.50 per share, according to a statement. The deal was valued at $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt.

Fox 17 is owned by Tribune Media.

In Michigan, Sinclair owns WWMT plus NBC affiliates WPBN and WTOM in Traverse City and Cadillac and WGTU/WGTQ, an ABC affiliate in the same cities. The company also owns the NBC affiliate for Flint, Bay City and Saginaw.

The “transformational” acquisition, which was approved unanimously by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, pending approval from Tribune stockholders, the FCC and other government regulators.

In the deal, Tribune stockholders would receive $35 in cash and 0.23 shares of Sinclair Class A common stock for each share of Tribune Class A common stock and Class B common stock they own, according to a statement.

It’s the largest deal ever for Sinclair, which expects to fund the transaction with a combination of cash, debt financing and the capital markets, according to a statement. The company is working with JPMorgan Chase Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. for debt financing.

With the Tribune deal, Sinclair will own, operate or services 233 television stations in 108 markets, although it may need to sell off some Tribue assets in markets where it currently owns stations. Those stations will be identified through the regulatory review process. 

Tribune owns or operates 42 local television stations, national cable network WGN America and a variety of digital products.

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