August 14, 2018 / 10:18 PM / a month ago

Tribune executives will get bonuses after Sinclair deal collapses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N) said Tuesday it will pay bonuses to executives who worked for more than 15 months on its failed merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI.O).

FILE PHOTO: The tower of Tribune Broadcasting Los Angeles affiliate KTLA 5 is seen in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

The bonuses, which were disclosed in a filing on Tuesday, are for the company’s chief financial officer, Chandler Bigelow, as well as its president of broadcast media, Larry Wert, and its general counsel and chief strategy officer Edward Lazarus. The bonuses are equal to 16 percent of target annual bonuses, which had been conditioned on completion of the Sinclair merger, the company said.

According the proxy, the bonuses for the three executives are worth between $102,000 and $160,000. Other executives will get bonuses based on a similar percentage of their targeted annual bonuses.

The bonuses “are being paid to the executives, like other recipients of unpaid retention bonuses, in recognition of the substantial efforts and time that each of them devoted to the company’s anticipated merger with Sinclair and their contributions to maintain and grow the company’s business,” the company said.

On Thursday, Tribune terminated its $3.9 billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair after regulators objected to the acquisition that was supported by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tribune filed the lawsuit against Sinclair, the largest U.S. broadcast station owner, alleging material breach of contract over its failure to win over regulators after the merger was first announced in May 2017.

Tribune sought about $1 billion of lost premium to Tribune’s stockholders and additional damages in an amount to be proven at trial over what it called Sinclair’s “misconduct,” according to a copy of the lawsuit filed in Delaware.

Sinclair said last week it would no longer pursue the Tribune merger and denied Tribune’s allegations.

Last week, Tribune Media Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern told investors it “open to all opportunities” in terms of industry consolidation or remaining independent. He noted on an investor call there was “tons of activity out there.”

Kern said he would continue to run the company until Tribune reached a “permanent state.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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