Media Bureau Approves Sinclair Purchase of Fisher Stations

The FCC has approved the transfer of Fisher TV stations to Sinclair, according to application approvals recorded in its online TV station database.

The approvals came the same day, Aug. 7, that the FCC approved the pro forma transfer of the Allbritton stations from the late Joe Allbritton to his estate.

Sinclair, which has been on a buying binge of late, agreed to buy Fisher for $373 million back in April and two weeks ago announced a deal to buy Allbritton's stations for $985 million.

The two deals still give Sinclair room to grow unless the FCC removes the 50% UHF discount, as it currently is proposing to do. If all the company's current station purchases go through, it would have an impressive 149 stations that the company will "own and operate, program or provide sales services to." Without the discount, Sinclair would be a hair below the FCC's 39% cap on national station reach.

The Department of Justice already completed its review of the Sinclair/Fisher deal, finding no reason to try and block or condition it on antitrust grounds, which was signaled by the FTC's release of the deals whose antitrust reviews - FTCA and DOJ divide them up with DOJ getting the TV deals - had been given early termination, which effectively means a green light from their end.

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.