Standard General and Tegna have filed their reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, urging the court to force the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rule on their proposed merger before the financing expires on May 22. The companies argue that the delay in the FCC’s review process has been unprecedentedly lengthy and has effectively killed the deal.
The FCC and its Media Bureau have been scrutinizing the proposed merger since last February, and the review has taken twice as long as the FCC’s guidelines. In February, the Media Bureau ordered that the deal be sent for a hearing by an administrative law judge, which is likely to take several more months. Standard General claims that the decision improperly doomed the deal before a vote by the FCC.
The NewsGuild-CWA, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA, Common Cause, and the United Church of Christ, OC Inc., have all opposed the transaction and filed their briefs in the case. Standard General and Tegna have now responded with their own reply brief before the case is decided.
If the court does not order the FCC to rule on the proposed merger before the financing expires, the deal will effectively be killed. The proposed merger has been a contentious issue, with opponents arguing that it would be detrimental to media diversity and local news coverage.