Hedge Fund Takeover of Local News Fails Thanks to CWA Efforts
In a major victory for journalists and media workers, local news broadcaster TEGNA terminated its proposed sale to hedge fund Standard General after funding for the deal expired.
“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stood up for media workers by scrutinizing a hedge fund’s attempt to take over and destroy more local news in the U.S.,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “CWA thanks FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel and her staff for finally doing what we have asked regulators to do for decades: protect American jobs and hold Wall Street firms accountable.”
NewsGuild-CWA and NABET-CWA members and leaders have been raising questions about how many jobs would be cut as a result of the takeover, which was announced in February 2022. Last summer, those CWA sectors joined the United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry and Common Cause in filing petitions to oppose the takeover and fighting to save local news jobs, prevent a hedge fund takeover of local news, and safeguard the public’s right to weigh in on large broadcast transactions affecting local news and U.S. democracy.
“Standard General and Apollo had multiple opportunities to provide more documents and failed to answer questions raised during this process, which extended the time for the deal to be reviewed,” said NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico. “In the end, their failure to provide adequate answers led to the need for further scrutiny in front of a judge and their poor planning in regard to their financing timeline led to the deal’s demise.“
“This is a major victory for our union members, who have been fighting the hedge fund takeover of local news for more than a decade,” said NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss. “For too long, hedge funds like Standard General, Alden Global Capital, and Chatham Asset Management have taken over local newsrooms, taken on massive amounts of debt, and cut jobs and local news coverage to service that debt.”