The Federal Communications Commission has opened an inquiry into the Sinclair Broadcast Group over its aborted attempt to buy Tribune Broadcasting’s TV stations, Multichannel News reports. Among the issues is whether Sinclair misled the FCC about who would be controlling the stations the company would be spinning off as part of the arrangement.
“That is according to a letter of inquiry (LOI) from the Media Bureau to David Gibber, SVP and general counsel of the broadcast group, according to a copy obtained by Multichannel News. The FCC wants tons of documents related to the sale and spin-offs,” the publication reports. “The FCC designated the deal for a hearing in front of the FCC’s Administrative Law Judge over concerns Sinclair had misrepresented the deal and showed a ‘lack of candor.’ Such designations are a death knell for a deal, as it was in this case.”
Multichannel News adds: “While the hearing was scrapped after the deal fell through, there was always the possibility the FCC would open an investigation into that misrepresentation charge, since it goes to the qualifications for holding any FCC licenses, and Sinclair has a bunch of them.”