Sinclair Closes $9.6 Billion Deal for Fox Regional Sports Networks

WASHINGTON (CN) – With approval from the Department of Justice, Sinclair Broadcasting Group completed acquisition of 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports from The Walt Disney Company on Friday to the tune of $9.6 billion.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.’s headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md., is depicted in this Oct. 12, 2004, photo.  (AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)

The transaction is a boost for the Maryland-based broadcaster, which already owns 191 television stations around the U.S.

The deal was first announced this spring when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox.

As part of the initial acquisition in May, Disney had to divest the sports networks in exchange for 21st Century Fox’s television and movie holdings.

In a statement Friday, the Justice Department said the approval was granted because the department could not find evidence the acquisition would harm competition in affected markets.

“We are very excited about the transformational aspects the regional sports network acquisition will have on Sinclair and are eager to bring those opportunities to life,” Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in a statement Friday.

The 21 regional channels were specifically attained by a Sinclair subsidiary known as the Diamond Sports Group and according to a Los Angeles Times report Friday, Sinclair finalized the deal by paying $1.4 billion in cash, $1 billion in equity issued from a separate Sinclair entity and $8.2 billion in debt.

Friday’s deal comes a year after Entertainment Studios head Byron Allen – who has invested in Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group – acquired The Weather Channel.

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