Sinclair Countersues Tribune Over Failed Merger Attempt

Sinclair Broadcast Group on Tuesday answered Tribune’s lawsuit over their failed merger with a countersuit.

Related: Tribune Ends Deal with Sinclair, Files Breach of Contract Suit

Sinclair agreed to acquire Tribune for $3.9 billion, but the deal fell through earlier this month after the Dept. of Justice and the FCC expressed objections.

Each company canceled the deal and Tribune sued Sinclair seeking damages of at least $1 billion and claimed that Sinclair did not move appropriately to achieve government consent.

Related: Pai: IG Finds No Favoritism Towards Sinclair

"We were extremely disappointed that the Tribune transaction was terminated," said Chris Ripley, Sinclair's president & chief executive officer.

"We are likewise disappointed that Tribune, through its meritless lawsuit, is seeking to capitalize on an unfavorable and unexpected reaction from the Federal Communications Commission to capture a windfall for Tribune,” Ripley added. “Today, we filed our response to Tribune's complaint, along with a counterclaim against Tribune for breaching the merger agreement. As described in our filing, we fully complied with our obligations under the merger agreement and worked tirelessly to close the transaction. The Company looks forward to vigorously defending against Tribune's claims and pursuing our own claim."

Tribune responded with a statement of its own.

“Sinclair’s counterclaim to Tribune’s complaint is entirely meritless and simply an attempt to distract from its own significant legal exposure resulting from its persistent violations of Tribune’s contractual right,” Tribune said.

“As detailed in Tribune’s complaint, Sinclair repeatedly and willfully breached its contractual obligations during what should have been a straightforward regulatory review process," Tribune added. "Sinclair’s misconduct culminated in its submitting to the Federal Communications Commission divestiture proposals that led the Commission to order a hearing on the fundamental issue of Sinclair’s lack of candor, thus ending any chance at merger approval in any reasonable timeframe. Tribune looks forward to holding Sinclair accountable in court.”

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.