Tribune Media Co. announced Monday it has agreed to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group for about $3.9 billion.
Sinclair also will assume about $2.7 billion in debt.
“Since we announced the strategic review 15 months ago, we have streamlined the business, monetized non-core assets, strengthened our balance sheet and returned more than $800 million to stockholders — all of which has resulted in a 50% increase in stockholder value,” Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern said in a news release.
Sinclair beat out Fox News owner 21st Century Fox and New York investment firm Blackstone for Tribune Media.
Sinclair will pay $43.50 per share. Tribune Media shares closed Friday at $40.29.
The deal was made possible by the Federal Communications Commission voting to ease limits on TV station ownership.
Tribune Media has 42 TV stations and WGN radio, and reaches more than 43 percent of the nation. Sinclair, headquartered in Baltimore, owns 173 stations and other properties such as the Tennis Channel and, according to TVNewsCheck.com, reaches more than 38 percent of the nation.
“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” said Chris Ripley, Sinclair president and CEO. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets.”