Nexstar, Tribune must divest some TV stations - U.S. Justice Dept

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nexstar Media Group Inc and Tribune Media Co must divest television stations in 13 markets to resolve antitrust concerns over their proposed $6.4 billion merger, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The markets are centered in Davenport, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Smith, Arkansas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Huntsville, Alabama; Indianapolis; Memphis, Tennessee; Norfolk, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City; and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the department said in a statement.

“Without the required divestitures, Nexstar’s merger with Tribune threatens significant competitive harm to cable and satellite TV subscribers and small businesses,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in the statement.

Nexstar said in December it had agreed to buy Chicago-based Tribune in a transaction worth $6.4 billion, a deal that would make it the largest regional U.S. television station operator.

In March, Irving, Texas-based Nexstar said it was selling 19 television stations to Tegna Inc and E.W. Scripps Co for $1.3 billion to satisfy regulatory demands before it buys Tribune.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler