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Cumulus Gets Thumbs up on Foreign Ownership Petition

Says move will help post-bankruptcy finances

Cumulus Media has received a green light to exceed the commission’s foreign ownership rules, a move the company said would strengthen its financial condition after its bankruptcy shakeup.

As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, Cumulus filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission requesting that it be allowed to exceed the 25% foreign ownership rule.

[Read: Cumulus Considers Selling Tower Holdings]

Specifically, the petition requested approval to permit up to 100% direct/indirect foreign investment in Cumulus. According to the company, the reorganization plan will enable Cumulus to emerge from bankruptcy in a stronger financial condition.

The commission approved Cumulus’ request, said Albert Shuldiner, chief, of the Audio Division at the Media Bureau. In the petition he wrote that granting the petition is likely to put Cumulus in a stronger financial condition post-bankruptcy and provide the company greater flexibility to access foreign investment capital, thereby allowing Cumulus to better compete with other media companies, enhance its programming, and better serve the public interest.

Cumulus owns and operates 441 full-power radio stations in 90 U.S. markets as well as Westwood One network. Cumulus’ bankruptcy restructuring, which was started in November 2017 cut the company’s total debt balance from $2.34 billion to $1.30 billion.