US Communications Watchdog GreenLights Clear Channel Deal

28 January 2008

WASHINGTON DC: US media regulator, the Federal Communications Commission has signalled its formal approval of the $19.5 billion (€13bn; £9.8bn) acquisition by a private equity duo of radio giant Clear Channel Communications.

The company, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is required to divest 42 stations across the top 100 US markets - a move that will allow Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners to complete the deal.

Clear Channel is also selling its television stations in a separate $1.3bn transaction, approved by the FCC last month. The new owners will be Newport Television, a private equity group controlled by Providence Equity Partners.

Despite the FCC's unanimous vote in favour of the radio deal, two of the five commissioners expressed some general reservations about private equity ownership of media.

Democrat Michael Copps said the FCC should examine the issue to see how it could affect "our ability to ensure that broadcast licensees protect, serve and sustain the public interest".

Clear Channel ceo Mark Mays hopes the radio deal will be inked by the end of the first quarter, although it still needs the nod from the Justice Department.

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by WARC staff