WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, in response to the Enforcement Bureau's suggestion that we quickly attempt to resolve remaining concerns to allow the transaction to move forward, Standard General L.P. provided additional information to the FCC that addresses potential concerns around the two issues raised in its Hearing Designation Order: the potential for increased retransmission consent fees from after-acquired clauses and the impact on localism. Standard General has also made additional commitments and submissions that further highlight the public interest benefits of this transaction. Standard General looks forward to speaking with the FCC on these two remaining issues tomorrow.
“We are continuing to work hard to ensure the FCC has all of the information they need to allow a vote on our deal with TEGNA,” said Founding Partner of Standard General Soo Kim. “We remain available to answer any and all questions the FCC may have, but, in response to comments made during our meetings on Friday, we have provided additional information to the Commission with the hope that they will move quickly to a vote. We’ve received unprecedented support from labor unions, civil rights organizations and leaders on both sides of the aisle – and this deal must receive an FCC vote before Monday when its financing will expire. All we are asking for is to be treated fairly by receiving an up or down vote before it is too late.”
The following information has been provided to the FCC:
- Additional Disclosure from the DOJ Depositions of Standard General - This deal has been scrutinized carefully by multiple agencies including the Department of Justice. Instead of debating over Protective Orders, Standard General is voluntarily making public the DOJ sworn Depositions that relate to the questions of after-acquired retransmission rate impacts and the impact on localism / jobs that have been raised by the objectors and referred by the Media Bureau to the ALJ for the Standard General / TEGNA transaction. The DOJ has conducted their due diligence and conducted hours of meetings with us on the very questions of retrans and localism. Standard General has nothing to hide and – if Soo Kim or any of Standard General’s principals were anything less than forthright, this deal would not have passed the HSR period without challenge. We encourage the Enforcement Bureau to call the DOJ front office to confirm that a thorough examination of these very issues was already conducted by the DOJ.
- Retrans Waiver / Comcast Agreement – Standard General has agreed to waive its contractual rights to apply after-acquired retransmission rates to the TEGNA stations and agreed to the conditions earlier requested by the NCTA, the industry group that represents cable TV providers. The waiver has been accepted by multiple MVPD’s, including Comcast, TEGNA’s largest customer. Standard General has submitted these documents to the FCC.
- Job and Newsroom Commitments – Standard General has extended its commitment to maintain newsroom jobs for at least three years (extended from two years previously) – this commitment covers all NewsGuild-NABET employees at TEGNA. Standard General has also committed to increasing local news budgets and news programming by 20% across TEGNA-owned stations within 3 years of closing. Standard General has submitted various documents that detail these commitments to the FCC.
- Union MOU – Standard General has signed an MOU with IATSE, which includes job commitments, the implementation of a local journalism grant fund, and neutrality agreements. This same MOU has been extended to all of TEGNA’s unions, including Newsguild-NABET. Standard General has submitted this MOU to the FCC.
- Civil Rights MOU – Standard General signed a new MOU with leading civil rights groups including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Action Network, National Urban League, and UnidosUS. Standard General’s commitments entail “Community Investment Plans”, installation of new advisory boards, and collaborative efforts to increase diverse representation at TEGNA and its stations. Standard General has submitted the details of this agreement to the FCC.
- Commitment to Repurchase Series B Preferred held by Apollo or CMG – Standard General has offered a new commitment to the FCC to repurchase all Series B securities held by Apollo or CMG within a specified period. Standard General has submitted the details of this commitment to the FCC.
This transaction will create the largest minority-owned and female-led broadcast station group in U.S. history. Recently, Mayor Eric Adams, the FDNY foundation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice- AAJC, National Action Network, National Urban League, UnidosUS, and senior leaders from both parties have called on the FCC to hold a vote.
The FCC is the last regulatory approval remaining to close this transaction. Standard General is pleased to discuss these commitments in more detail with the FCC.
About Standard General
Standard General was founded in 2007 and manages capital for public and private pension funds, endowments, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals. Standard General is a minority-controlled and operated organization. Mr. Kim is supported by a diverse, highly experienced 17-person team, including seven investment professionals with over 120 years of collective investing experience.