The $4.1 billion proposal won the OK of more than 95% percent of the votes cast by the Company’s Class A common stockholders and Class B common stockholders, who voted as a single class. That turnout represents about 73% percent of the shares of the Company’s Class A common stock and Class B common stock outstanding as of the special meeting record date.
Nexstar’s bid followed a long-gestating acquisition agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the current No. 1 owner of local TV stations, which fell apart last summer over regulators’ objections. Nexstar swooped in months later with a sweetened offer a notch above Sinclair’s $3.9 billion price. If Nexstar closes the Tribune transaction as the company expects in the third quarter, it will leapfrog Sinclair to become the nation’s top local broadcaster.
“We’re extremely pleased with today’s vote,” Tribune CEO Peter Kern said. “It confirms that our stockholders clearly recognize the significant value we expect to be delivered by this merger. We look forward to continuing our work with Nexstar to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals that will enable us to close this transaction later this year.”
Unlike Sinclair, which assumed a fairly defiant stance during the regulatory process, Nexstar has indicated from the that it plans to divest of enough stations that the combined company will remain below the 39% national ownership cap. Sinclair has quickly turned the page since the Tribune experience, getting a piece of two regional sports networks, the long-established YES and a new one launching in 2020 with the Chicago Cubs, the team formerly owned by Tribune.