Tegna: Standard General Deal Has Been Terminated

Tegna building in McLean, Virginia
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

After more than a year of trying to get the deal done, Tegna said that as of Monday, May 22, its merger agreement with Standard General has been terminated and it can collect a $136 million breakup fee. May 22 was the deadline for Standard General's financing of the deal.

That’s according to Tegna’s announcement that it has launched an accelerated $300 million stock-repurchase program and a 20% bump in its quarterly dividend — from 9.5 cents to 11.375 cents per share — as a way to return some of that new cash to shareholders.

Tegna said it may be looking at returning added excess capital that accumulated during the non-merger’s pendancy.

Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion purchase of Tegna’s TV stations and other media assets was designated for hearing by the Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau before an administrative law judge (ALJ) over concerns about retransmission consent fees and potential job losses, including in news.

Also Read: Standard General Tries, Tries Again With FCC on Tegna Deal

The judge had said the review could not be completed by May 22. That meant the hearing designation essentially spelled the end of the deal.

Tegna president David Lougee signaled it was time for the broadcaster to move forward on its own. “As we look ahead, we are confident that Tegna is well-positioned to continue serving all our stakeholders based on our portfolio of leading broadcast assets and innovative digital brands, our delivery of high-quality, trusted news and content in the markets where we operate, and our continued focus on fostering a culture of diversity and inclusivity,” Lougee said in a statement. 

“This is a major victory for our union members, who have been fighting the hedge fund takeover of local news for more than a decade,” said Jon Schleuss, president of the NewsGuild-CWA, which had petitioned to block the deal

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.