(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged regulators to closely scrutinize Standard General LP’s proposed purchase of broadcaster Tegna Inc., citing concerns the transaction could result in less local news, journalism job cuts and higher prices for consumers.

“This transaction deserves your full and complete attention,” Pelosi said in a letter Thursday to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who is leading the agency’s review of the $5.4 billion deal. Representative Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also signed the letter.

The deal needs approval from the FCC, which is in a two-to-two partisan split as a nominee who would give Democrats a majority awaits Senate confirmation. Rosenworcel, a Democrat, was selected by President Joe Biden, whose administration has criticized mergers that lead to “excessive concentration.”

Standard General, a private equity firm, agreed to pay $24 a share in cash for Tegna in February. Shares of Tegna dropped as much as 3.7% on Thursday, to $20.28 in New York. 

Opponents of the Tegna deal have told the FCC the transaction could raise prices for cable-TV distributors and lead to substantial job cuts. Standard General has said it would enhance news coverage, and that a competitive market would keep prices in check. Tegna owns 64 television stations in cities including Dallas, New Orleans, Cleveland and Washington.

Democrats Pelosi and Pallone asked the FCC “to fully examine the concerns raised by public comments -- and shared by many of our colleagues in Congress.”

The FCC is reviewing the letter, said Will Wiquist, a commission spokesperson. Last month, the commission told Standard General to produce more documents about the deal.

“It’s hard to see the FCC approving this deal, given the evidence against it and given that key members of Congress have voiced their concern,” Yosef Getachew, Media & Democracy program director at the advocacy group Common Cause, said in an interview. Common Cause has asked the FCC to deny the merger.

Pelosi’s letter increases odds of the FCC requiring conditions that carry financial impact, Blair Levin, an analyst for New Street Research, said in a note.

In an emailed statement, a Standard General spokesperson said the firm was “disappointed” to see critics “enlist the involvement of Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Pallone by misleading them with the same false statements they have been making to the FCC.”

Standard General said in the statement that it wouldn’t supplant local news with broadcasts produced in Washington, and isn’t planning to cut jobs at Tegna stations.

“The time has come to approve the transaction,” the company said.

(Updates with comments from agency, analyst, opponents and company starting in seventh paragraph.)

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