Now that the Sinclair deal has gone south, thanks to Sinclair not being upfront with the FCC and being greedy, the Tribune stations are back in play.
So who's interested?
According to CNBC Apollo, Blackstone and Providence are among private equity firms that have expressed interest in buying local TV stations and they could make a play for Tribune.
Also, Nexstar which tried to make a play at Tribune before Sinclair stepped in, is said to be interested in Tribune once again.
But, it could be that Nexstar itself might be sold.
Apollo, Providence Equity Partners and Blackstone Group LP are among the private equity firms interested in acquiring local TV assets, according to to CNBC.
Their targets could include Nexstar Media Group, Tribune Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group and 14 stations being sold by Cox Enterprises, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. No deals are imminent, cautioned the people.
Local TV stations are prime targets for private equity buyouts because they are reliable cash generators that require little capital expenditure. This allows buyout firms to put a lot of debt on the companies and deleverage quickly. 2018 should be a strong year for the industry driven by midterm election political advertising.
Potential targets may also see a reason to sell. The bear case for local TV is straightforward — each year fewer people watch television than the year before. That will affect retransmission revenue — the money collected from pay-TV operators for airing their stations — which is largely based on total eyeballs.
Blackstone and Providence declined to comment. An Apollo spokesperson could not immediately be reached.