Sen. Elizabeth Warren Urges FCC To Block Standard General-Tegna Deal

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to block Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna.

In her letter, Warren said “the parties themselves have acknowledged that this deal is likely to produce anticompetitive effects,” including higher prices, worker layoffs and collusion.

Warren added that the behavioral remedies Standard General has offered to address those concerns are “historically ineffective and should provide no comfort that these Wall Street firms will not engage in anticompetitive practices after the deal is completed.”

The acquisition has faced opposition from unions, cable operators and rival broadcasters.

Standard General has pointed out that it is a minority-owned company with women in important management positions. It has also pledged not to lay off newsroom staffers at the stations it buys and has said it will not leverage inherited retransmission-consent deals to jack up rates in additional markets where it will own stations.

Earlier this week, Standard General and Tegna launched a website promoting the merger.

Review of the merger by the FCC has gone on past its usual timeline. Most recently, the agency has given commenters a deadline of  January 20, The FCC will need to vet those comments, which means it is unlikely a decision will be made until early February. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.