Tribune Media seen as near-term target

21 August 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Tribune Media [NYSE:TRCO] will likely attract considerable attention from potential buyers in the near term following the termination of its agreement to sell to Sinclair Broadcast Group [NASDAQ:SBGI], two sources briefed on the matter said.
Earlier this month the Chicago-based local television broadcast group announced that it had terminated its merger agreement with Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair and said that it would be suing Sinclair for breach of contract. 
According to the filed complaint, Tribune is seeking damages of USD 1bn as a result of Sinclair’s conduct in pursuing regulatory approval of the USD 3.9bn deal.
On the company’s earnings call on 9 August, when asked by an analyst if Tribune’s focus is on running independently or preparing for another sale, CEO Peter Kern replied that Tribune remains “open to all opportunities […] in terms of further consolidation in the industry.” 
Potential suitors have already made informal calls to Tribune, one of the sources said. The names of suitors and their level of engagement could not be learned. 
Tribune and Sinclair first reached a deal in May 2017. Tribune declined to comment.
by Jonathan Guilford in New York and David B. Wilkerson in Chicago, with additional reporting by Victoria Turner in Washington, DC