Standard General is making new commitments to antitrust enforcers aimed at tamping down fears that its $5.4 billion acquisition of TV broadcaster Tegna could unduly jack up prices for consumers.
Key context: The hedge fund’s concessions could indicate a shift towards trying to make a deal.
Announced back in February and involving 64 Tegna TV stations, the deal has stalled while pending before the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department. Opponents include some journalism unions and advocacy groups, whose concerns were amplified this fall by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).
Standard General’s new assurances: Any effect the deal may have on these types of pricing negotiations “is not central to Standard General’s thesis for the proposed Transactions,” wrote Standard General executive Soo Kim, who would own Tegna if the transaction goes through, in a short letter to the FCC dated Friday.
But citing “the cost of continued delay to the closing of the Transactions,” Kim assured the FCC that Standard General would “voluntarily and irrevocably” waive any scenario where Cox’s existing retransmission agreement terms or conditions with pay-TV providers could apply to the Tegna stations that Standard General would acquire. Kim’s letter notes that this would allow any existing agreements Tegna has before the merger to continue to apply after deal closing.
Politico | by John Hendel