Tegna scraps $8.6 billion Standard General deal after regulatory pushback

(Reuters) -Television station operator Tegna Inc said on Monday it has terminated its merger agreement with hedge fund Standard General after several regulatory hurdles.

Tegna last year agreed to be taken private by Standard General in a deal valued at $8.6 billion, including debt. At the time, the acquisition was expected to close in the second half of 2022.

However, the deal attracted criticism from some members of Congress, including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on concerns of potentially higher TV prices for consumers and job losses.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates the U.S. telecoms industry, in February decided to hold a hearing on the hedge fund's bid in a step that has historically led deals to collapse.

Standard General sued the FCC over its decision in March, but the appeal was later dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The hedge fund is expected to pay $136 million in termination fees to Tegna. It did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Shares of Tegna, which manages 64 TV stations in 51 U.S. markets, rose 3% in extended trade.

The company also announced an accelerated share repurchase program worth $300 million on Monday. Tegna had paused share repurchases after the deal was announced.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)