Separately, on Tuesday, Democratic members of Congress asked the FCC to investigate reports that "Sinclair Broadcasting illegally exercised control over the advertising activities of Tribune Media Company".
Tribune withdrew Thursday from its $3.9 billion buyout by Sinclair and it's filing a lawsuit against it, citing breach of contract.
Hunt Valley, Md. -based Sinclair agreed to buy Tribune Media's 42 TV stations in May 2017, creating what would be the largest ownership group in the US, with 233 stations.
Approval of the merger was widely considered inevitable because Trump's FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is notoriously anti-regulation and pro-merger, and had rolled back ownership rules for broadcast media companies past year in a manner that seemingly paved the way for the deal.
"This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders".
Sinclair did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours.
Like many media stories these days, this one also has a political angle: In recent years, Sinclair and the Smith family have shown favor to President Trump and backed conservative messages. As elaborated in the complaint we filed earlier today, Sinclair's entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the Merger Agreement and, but for Sinclair's actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.
The company is "open to all opportunities" in terms of industry consolidation or remaining independent, Tribune Media Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern told investors on a call on Thursday.
On Thursday, Kern said the FCC order, which has been the death knell for previous media mergers, was the final straw for Tribune Media.
Nexstar Media Group (NXST.O) and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O), partnering with private equity, had considering buying Tribune before Sinclair announced its deal and are likely bidders, analysts have said.
Kern said he would continue to run the company until Tribune reached a "permanent state". But the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company had offered to sell some stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission rules.
But constructing deals in such a way that would allow the company to maintain control or re-purchase them wasn't what Tribune had in mind. By one estimate, the combined company would have owned stations in almost 3 out of 4 USA households, controlling an enormous amount of the content Americans see on local stations.
Had the merger with Tribune Media been approved, Sinclair would have completely dominated the local news market.