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The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year, Sinclair officials said.

Sinclair already has 173 stations around the country, including WSYX in Columbus and WKRC in Cincinnati. The company also owns the NBC affiliate for Flint, Bay City and Saginaw. In a December statement, Sinclair said that it had no such deal with Trump's team and that it had given both him and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton "the same opportunities to be interviewed by our local anchors on a regular basis". With the acquisition, Sinclair will have ownership or control of television stations in 72 percent of US markets, including in major markets such as New York, Chicago and Miami, as well as 28 percent of Fox Broadcasting's affiliates. "The acquisition will also create substantial synergistic value through operating efficiencies, revenue streams, programming strategies and digital platforms".

The deal is still subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Sinclair said that it may have to divest stations in markets where it now owns stations in order to adhere to FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations. Such divestitures will be determined through the regulatory approval process.

"It makes them a bigger boy on the block, so to speak", he said. "The overlaps have no impact on overall competition".

Ripley added, however, that three markets "most likely" to trigger concern from the regulators are the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market as well as St. Louis and Salt Lake City. While Sinclair would sell if need be, the group sees swaps as "all the better", he said.

Bogardus said the news sets and websites of the Tribune Media television stations that Sinclair is acquiring likely would change over time, as well. Tribune Media owns World Health Organization, the NBC affiliate in Des Moines. Fox had been planning an offer for Tribune but in the end didn't submit a bid, Bloomberg reported last week. It emerged from bankruptcy in late 2012 and completed a spinoff of its newspaper assets in 2014 into a company now known as Tronc Inc TRNC.O . The company restructured after a wrenching four-year bankruptcy.

Tribune CEO Peter Liguori, who joined Tribune in 2013, stepped down in March and a permanent replacement has not yet been named. He has not been replaced.

Sinclair was Founded in 1986, and became publicly traded in 1995.

"The free market is alive and well in broadcast", Hoffman said. In the USA, local stations get paid by cable and satellite companies for the rights to air their channels, and then pass along some of that revenue to network owners like Fox.