Nexstar Tribune Media WGN America
WGN America, a cable network run by Tribune Media, will be among media properties which will become under new ownership following an agreement with Nexstar Sunday. (Heartland Newsfeed photo)

IRVING, Tex./CHICAGO (Heartland Newsfeed) — Chicago-based Tribune Media Company has reached an agreement Sunday with Irving, Tex.-based Nexstar Media Group Inc. in an acquisition costing roughly $4.1 billion, according to sources knowledgeable of the matter.

This deal and merger between the two companies will create the largest regional U.S. TV station operator.

Tribune Media owns 45 television stations including flagship station WGN and cable network WGN America, 11 digital assets under the Tribune Entertainment banner and the WGN radio station in Chicago. Tribune owns St. Louis-based TV stations KTVI (Fox affiliate) and KPLR (The CW affiliate) in a local sense.

The organization spun off into a separate division from Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and other media properties, in August 2014.

Three months prior to the deal, Tribune had reached a $3.9 billion deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group, currently the largest TV station operator in the U.S., as well as owner of the Ring Of Honor Wrestling organization. The deal collapsed due to regulatory hurdles set forth by the Federal Communications Commission, resulting a breach of contract lawsuit against Sinclair.

Nexstar outbid Apollo Global Management LLC, a private equity firm, with an all-cash offer that values the company at roughly $46.50 per share, according to sources.

An official public statement of agreement between the two companies could be announced by Monday.

The sources requested anonymity as the matter is currently confidential. Requests from all parties involved for comment did not receive immediate responses.

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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and a contributing writer for My Sports Vote, Ambush Sports and Midwest Sports Network. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dogs Sparky and Buster.

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