The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it will require Nexstar Media Group and Tribune Media to divest TV stations in 13 markets as a condition of their proposed $6.4 billion merger, TVNewsCheck reports.
“The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, along with the offices of three state Attorneys General, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed merger,” TVNewsCheck reports. “At the same time, the Division filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, ‘would resolve the suit by remedying the competitive harms alleged in the complaint, through the divestitures and related conditions,’ it said. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.”
Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is quoted in the report saying: “Without the required divestitures, Nexstar’s merger with Tribune threatens significant competitive harm to cable and satellite TV subscribers and small businesses. I am pleased, however, that we have been able to reach a resolution of the division’s concerns, thanks in part to the parties’ commitment to engage in good faith settlement talks from the outset of our investigation.”
TVNewsCheck adds: “According to the complaint, without the divestitures the merger would eliminate head-to-head competition between Nexstar and Tribune in the thirteen local markets in which the divestitures are being required. These markets are centered in Davenport, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith, Ark.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Indianapolis; Memphis; Norfolk, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Salt Lake City; and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.”