Sinclair Broadcast Group and Emmis Communications took to the courts Wednesday in an escalating battle over some Sinclair properties in St. Louis that Emmis wants to buy.
Sinclair of Baltimore fired the first salvo with a lawsuit against Emmis and former top Sinclair exec Barry Baker relating to a right claimed by Baker to acquire Sinclair’s St. Louis radio and TV stations.
At issue is Baker’s employment agreement with Sinclair, which gave him or his designee an option to purchase those assets. Emmis acquired that right from Baker last June and has been attempting to buy the stations from Sinclair for some $367 million.
Sinclair’s suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County, claims that Emmis isn’t a proper designee and that Baker’s right is, in any case, “unenforceable due to vagueness.” An indignant Emmis immediately announced plans to file a claim.
Emmis of Indianapolis said as recently as Monday that it proposed to Sinclair that all unresolved issues be settled by arbitration and that Sinclair had agreed to respond in writing to that proposal by Tuesday; instead it filed a lawsuit.