FCC Sets Deadline for Oppositions to Tegna-Standard General

Signage is displayed outside Tegna Inc. headquarters in McLean, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, March, 13, 2020.
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission said that if anyone wants to oppose the $8 billion-plus purchase of Tegna's TV station group by investment fund Standard General, they need to speak now, or at least by May 23.

That is the deadline for petitions to deny the deal, according to the pleading cycle for public comment on the deal released by the FCC Thursday (April 21). The FCC has opened a docket on the deal (Docket No. 22162) where oppositions and responses will be filed.

The deal includes both the primary transfer and spinoff deals to get the merger under FCC ownership caps.

Given that Standard General has criticized Tegna management and lost a proxy fight earlier to take over the company, petitions to deny are a definite possibility.

Also: NewsGuild Urges Review of Apollo Financing of Tegna Buyout

Tegna and Standard General filed their application for the deal March 10, which the FCC said this week it has accepted after its initial review, which just means the filing itself appears to be in order. The FCC has now set challenge deadlines of May 23 for petitions to deny, June 7 for oppositions to those petitions, and June 17 for reply comments.

Anyone who files a petition to deny automatically becomes a party to the proceeding. The FCC reminds all parties to raise all relevant issues in their initial filings, rather than, say, coming back with new points in oppositions since the reply comments can only address issues raised in oppositions.

The FCC will not disregard new information if it comes to light after initial filings, but absent that reserves the right to disregard new arguments raised after initial filings.

Tegna owns 64 television stations in 51 U.S. markets. It also owns multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest and advanced-advertising company Premion. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

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