Sinclair to sell TV stations in major markets to complete Tribune buy: report

Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) reportedly plans to sell Tribune Media's TV stations in Chicago and New York in order to win regulatory approval for its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune.

Sinclair disclosed the plan to sell Chicago's WGN and New York's WPIX in a Federal Communications Commission filing on Wednesday, according to Variety, which reported that Tribune's KSWB-TV in San Diego is also on the block. 

Sinclair, the nation's largest local TV station operator, announced in May that it would buy Tribune and its 42 stations. Chicago-based Tribune also owns stakes in the Food Network and job-search website CareerBuilder.

Fox Television Stations has expressed interest in buying other stations in parts of the country where the FCC might require Sinclair to divest assets to comply with ownership caps, Variety reports. Fox already owns stations in New York, the country's largest TV market, and in No. 3 Chicago, which could prevent it from acquiring other assets in those cities. 

A move by Sinclair to divest Tribune-owned TV stations in Chicago and New York would be surprising because the deal was seen as a way for the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company to expand in major cities where it lacks a presence.