Justice Department Wants More Info on $985M Sinclair, Allbritton Deal

Sinclair Broadcasting Group of Hunt Valley, Md., said Monday that it has received a second request for information on its $985 million deal to acquire television stations owned by Allbritton Communications Corp. of Arlington, Va.

In a news release, Sinclair said the second request -- "a standard part of the DOJ review process" -- would extend the review process for the deal. That means the purchase might not close until the first or second quarter, instead of the fourth quarter as originally expected.

Of course, that's not the only thing that could delay the deal. The partial government shutdown, which began last week and continues today, almost means that Federal Communications Commission work to clear the Sinclair deal, as well as Gannett Co.'s deal to buy Belo TV stations, has ground to halt. 

You'll recall that all this has ripple effects here in Arkansas. Among the ABC affiliates Sinclair aims to acquire in the Allbritton deal is KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock.

The Sinclair/Allbritton deal has not been without its critics. The American Cable Association and other groups have lodged complaints with the FCC.