Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gray Television Required to Divest Television Stations in South Bend, Indiana, and Wichita, Kansas, as Part of Schurz Communication Acquisition

Proposed Settlement Preserves Competition for Broadcast Television Advertisers

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia challenging Gray Television, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Schurz Communication, Inc., and simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit.

The division alleged that the proposed transaction would have eliminated head-to-head competition between Gray’s and Schurz’s television stations for the business of local and national advertisers on television stations in South Bend, Indiana, and Wichita, Kansas.  The division determined that elimination of this competition would have resulted in higher prices and lower quality services to broadcast television spot advertisers in these markets.  The proposed settlement – which must be approved by the court – requires Gray to divest two television stations – the CBS-affiliated WSBT-TV in South Bend and the ABC-affiliated KAKE-TV in Wichita – to department-approved buyers.

“We remain vigilant in protecting competition in local television markets,” said Assistant Attorney Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Combining these stations under common ownership would have made it more costly for advertisers to communicate with consumers.  The antitrust laws render those transactions unlawful.” 

Gray is incorporated in the state of Georgia, with its headquarters in Atlanta.  Schurz is a privately owned company, with its headquarters in Mishawaka, Indiana.  Both Gray and Schurz operate broadcast television stations in various metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to David Kully, Chief, Litigation III Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Fourth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20530.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the final judgment upon a finding that it serves the public interest.

Gray Schurz PFJ (49.77 KB)

Gray Schurz CIS (56.14 KB)

Gray Schurz Explanation (23.31 KB)

Gray Schurz HSSO (1.32 MB)

Gray Schurz Complaint (145.69 KB)

Press Release Number: 
Updated February 4, 2016