According to Tribune, Sinclair committed to use reasonable best efforts to obtain regulatory approval as promptly as possible, instead, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission over regulatory requirements.
It's already been more than a year after the merger was announced; the two companies had previously said they would close the deal by the end of 2017. Here, the WGN Radio sign appears on the side of Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago. When the FCC shelved the deal, Trump said it was "So sad and unfair" that the agency in his administration wouldn't give its approval.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in July that Sinclair "did not fully disclose" facts about the merger, raising questions about whether the company "attempted to skirt the commission's broadcast ownership rules".
Pai told Congress after Trump's tweet that he stood by his decision to refer the issue to a hearing.
The deal, as originally announced in May 2017, would give Sinclair control of 233 TV stations, including 42 Tribune-owned stations and a presence in such top markets as NY and Chicago.
The Maryland company did not immediately respond early Thursday to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
"In light of the FCC's unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair's conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger can not be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever", Peter Kern, Tribune Media's chief executive officer, said in the statement.
"This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. We can't do anything about such speculation", he wrote.
And the sales allegedly had strings attached that would allow Sinclair to retain significant control over the stations' operations and programming.
Under the terms of the deal, Tribune and Sinclair had the right to call off the deal without paying a termination fee if it was not completed by August 8.