FTC Approves Sinclair's Freedom Purchase

The Federal Trade Commission has concluded there are no anticompetitive implications to Sinclair's purchase of the Freedom Stations.

That came in an early termination notice Tuesday, which is an early ending to its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review of all mergers over a certain price.

Sinclair announced earlier this month it had a deal to buy the station group.

Any deal over $66 million -- Sinclair is paying $385 million -- must be submitted to FTC and Justice for antitrust review. They divvy up the reviews and, if there are problems with anticompetitive issues, file suit to block or settle on conditions and divestitures with the parties involved. The early termination means that, as far as FTC and Justice are concerned, the deal is good to go without further review.

Sinclair must also get FCC approval for the license transfers.

Sinclair has struck a couple of big deals -- it is also ponying up $200 million for Four Points Media -- in what has been a depressed market for station sales.

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.