Fox confirms it will buy seven TV stations from Sinclair

Confirming an exclusive April 25 report by The Post, the company said the deal would grow Fox Television Stations' coverage to almost half of all United States households, and its market presence to 19 of the top 20, including the addition of key markets that align with Fox's sports rights.

It's adding six Tribune Fox affils and one CW in Miami, Cleveland, Sacramento, Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City and San Diego.

To get regulatory consent for its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, Sinclair agreed to sell off WGN in Chicago along with 22 other Sinclair and Tribune stations. It would sell some 23 TV stations.

Sinclair announced the sale of the stations last month to parties including Standard Media Group LLC, Meredith Corp., Howard Stirk and Cunningham Broadcasting Corp., and an unnamed buyer. The deal with Fox excludes stations where Sinclair will continue to provide services after the deal closes.

The proposed merger has run into strong opposition from those anxious about the loss of diverse voices across the broadcast landscape, a concern heightened by Sinclair's conservative leanings.

The acquisition of the stations in deal with Sinclair and Tribune Media, will strengthen so-called New Fox, which after the Disney deal will consist of the Fox broadcast network, TV stations, Fox News and Fox Sports.

Recently, Sinclair has made other announced moves to lower its potential reach of all US homes via TV station ownership, should the deal be approved.

The Sinclair and Fox deal announcement arrives on the same morning that Sinclair is announcing its first-quarter results.

Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, said: "This transaction illustrates Fox's commitment to local broadcasting and we are pleased to add these stations to our existing portfolio". The Fox deal covers key markets where Sinclair would own two so-called full power stations after the Tribune transaction, which current Federal Communications Commission rules don't allow.

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