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US orders hearing for Standard General bid for Tegna

The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the U.S. telecoms industry, on Friday said it would hold a hearing on hedge fund Standard General’s bid for TV station operator Tegna Inc, a step that has historically led deals to collapse.

Tegna, which manages 64 stations in 51 U.S. markets, agreed in February to be acquired by Standard General in a $5.4 billion all-cash deal that would take the company private. The agreement attracted criticism from some powerful corners in Congress, including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In announcing the hearing, which was designated by the agency’s media bureau rather than the full commission, the FCC said the “proposed transaction could artificially raise prices for consumers and result in job losses.”

The hedge fund had previously said the proposed deal “will yield significant public interest benefits without any countervailing public interest harms” and suggested that those opposed were misleading lawmakers “with the same false statements they have been making to the FCC.”

The announcement comes after Standard General said earlier this week that the U.S. Justice Department had allowed its review period to expire without taking any action. Reuters

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