Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger: Statement by Consumers Union

Experts

Senior Policy Counsel

 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tribune Media announced today that it would withdraw from its proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and sue Sinclair for breach of contract.  Tribune’s announcement follows the Federal Communications Commission’s June 16th decision to refer the merger to an administrative law judge for review.

Over the past year, Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, has raised serious concerns about the potential impact of the merger on consumers.

Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “If this merger had been approved, the potential harms for competition and the diversity of media voices — not to mention the prices people pay for pay-TV service — would have been enormous.  This latest development is great news for consumers.  The merger would have left one company controlling local TV stations located in nearly three-quarters of the country.  This combined company would have had a huge amount of power and leverage to jack up prices paid by cable and satellite companies for programming, leading to higher prices for consumers.  The FCC did the right thing by flagging this deal for review, and we think the ultimate outcome is a victory for consumers.”

Last fall, Consumers Union filed formal comments with the FCC to outline its concerns about the merger.  Those comments are available online here.

Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org

Consumers Union is the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.