Fox, Blackstone considering bid for Tribune Media

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Rupert Murdoch (PHOTO: CNN)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — 21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, one of the nation’s largest television broadcasting companies, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday.

The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture.

Should a deal come to fruition, Fox and Blackstone will go up against Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns 173 local television stations in 81 markets and has already made a bid for Tribune’s holdings. With Tribune’s channels in its portfolio, Sinclair would reach more than 40% of the U.S. television market, which is not currently allowed under FCC rules, though those rules may change soon.

Tribune Media declined to comment Sunday evening. Blackstone could not be reached for comment.

News of the Fox-Blackstone talks was first reported by the Financial Times.

Tribune owns 42 television stations throughout the United States as well as national channel WGN America. In 2014, it spun off its newspaper holdings into a separate company.

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