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TEGNA says Standard General deal officially dead

Behind-the-scenes look at KXTV ABC10's news set debuting in July 2022.
A behind-the-scenes look at a news set used by TEGNA-owned KXTV. (Image courtesy KXTV/TEGNA, Graphic by The Desk)

Television broadcaster TEGNA says its pending deal to be acquired by Standard General is officially dead.

The announcement was made in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, in which the local TV operator said it was buying back $300 million in public shares.

“These initial actions to return excess capital to shareholders follow the termination of TEGNA’s merger agreement with an affiliate of Standard General L.P.,” a spokesperson for TEGNA said in the document filed on Monday.

Standard General agreed to acquire TEGNA early last year in a deal valued at around $8.6 billion. The proposal was met with fierce opposition from trade unions representing TEGNA workers and consumer advocacy groups, who said the deal would harm competition and local investments in news programming.

Standard General’s $8.6 billion deal to acquire TEGNA was funded in part by Apollo Global Management, a hedge fund that holds operational control over dozens of Cox Media Group television stations. The deal would have essentially mad TEGNA’s television stations co-owned with Cox Media, which fueled further opposition to the merger.

The deal fell apart in part because the Federal Communications Commission took no decisive on whether to approve or reject it prior to a May 22 finance deadline. Executives at Standard General complained that they would likely not be able to secure financing with comparable interest rates after May 22 if the deal wasn’t approved.

TEGNA has scheduled a conference call with investors for Thursday, May 25, where the company will reveal its first-quarter financial earnings and provide guidance for the remainder of 2023.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).