Federal Appeals Courts Puts Hold on Sinclair/Tribune Deal

A federal appeals court did what the FCC should have done and has blocked (at least temporally) the Sinclair/Tribune deal. 

The court put on hold the FCC’s plans to relax the ownership rule that allowed major station groups to expand through mergers and acquisitions.

The relaxed rules were put in place by the Trump administration and his puppet FCC chairman Ajit Pai to let Trump's friends at Sinclair gobble up more stations. The relaxed rules did nothing for the viewer or advertiser, but would help make companies like Sinclair become monopolies, much more easily. 

The courts ruling, at least for the short term, is a roadblock to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media TV stations.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to the FCC’s decision in April to restore the so-called UHF discount, which has allowed major media companies to exceed restrictions on the number of stations that they can own. The court said that the stay will give them an opportunity to review the merits of the case.

A source close to the situation noted that the temporary stay granted on Thursday extends through June 7, and the real test will come next week after the review is completed by a three-judge panel.

Reps for Sinclair and Tribune declined to comment late Thursday. 

H/T Variety