Standard General: FCC Tegna Comment Extension Could Cost Millions

The Tegna Inc. headquarters stands in McLean, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, March, 13, 2020. Comedian and TV producer Byron Allen has made a $20-a-share, all-cash offer for Tegna in a deal that values the TV station owner at $8.5 billion, including debt, according to a person familiar with the situation.
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Standard General (SGCI) has told the FCC that the two-week comment extension it has granted on the proposed Standard General-Tegna merger could cost the company millions of dollars.

SGCI, in opposing a comment extension the FCC ultimately granted, told the FCC that the way the deal is structured the per-share price SGCI has to pay escalates based on the closing date.

It said that if the Federal Communications Commission’s two-week delay only delays that closing by two weeks, the price it has to pay goes up by more than $5 million.

Also: Standard General, Tegna: Deal Opposition Is Legally Irrelevant

SGCI said that given the FCC’s desire that SGCI funds news operations at Tegna at the current or increased levels, “creating yet further delay in this proceeding while driving up Standard General’s costs simply to avoid inconvenience to Movants is decidedly not in the public interest.”

Movants are the NewsGuild-CWA/National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians [NABET]-CWA, Common Cause, and the United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry, which have big issues with the deal.

Standard General agreed to acquire Tegna in an $8.6 billion deal that includes the assumption of $3.2 billion in debt. Apollo Global Management (AGM) is providing some of the funding for the deal. AGM controls Cox Media Group (CMG), which will own some of the Tegna stations if the deal is approved.

Petitions to deny were filed by The NewsGuild-CWA and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET)-CWA and Graham Media Holdings.

In seeking the FCC extension, the petitioners said the regulator’s 10-day comment window was too short to develop a full record on the deal, which the unions have petitioned to block, and that the deal was sufficiently complicated to require more time to vet (the deal includes station spinoffs to Apollo Global Management). They also told the FCC that the legal counsel for TNG-CWA and NABET-CWA “has had to schedule unavoidable medical treatment.” ■

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.