FCC Approves Nexstar-Tribune Media Merger

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Perry Sook

The $4.1 billion deal creates the largest operator of local U.S. TV stations, led by Nexstar topper Perry Sook.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday approved the sale of Tribune Media's TV stations to Nexstar Media Group as part of a $4.1 billion deal first unveiled in December 2018.

The transaction, worth $6.4 billion when including debt, creates the largest operator of local U.S. television stations. The FCC blessing follows Nexstar, which is led by chairman, president and CEO Perry Sook, striking deals to sell 19 local TV stations in 15 markets for $1.32 billion.

The TV regulator concluded the proposed merger "would provide several public interest benefits to viewers of current Tribune and Nexstar stations" as it gave a green light.

In July, the Department of Justice cleared Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune Media, leaving FCC approval as the final hurdle to close the transaction.

In a statement Monday, Nexstar said it expected to close the Tribune Media transaction "shortly," at which time the media group will update investors on synergy targets and other deal points.

In August 2018, Sinclair Broadcast Group's planned $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media was canceled, which renewed the search for a buyer of Tribune's 42 TV stations, network WGN America and other assets.