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SBS Seeks OK for More Foreign Investment

Company asks the FCC to approve a higher equity share

Spanish Broadcasting System has asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow foreign investors to indirectly own up to 49.99% of its equity in aggregate.

SBS filed a petition for declaratory ruling as a consequence of a litigation settlement under which certain investors would receive a combination of cash and new shares of SBS’s common stock.

SBS has radio holdings in multiple major markets including flagship WSKQ(FM) in New York.

“The issuance of the total number of shares required to implement the settlement could cause the aggregate equity foreign ownership of SBS to exceed … [the] 25% benchmark because some of these parties are foreign entities and/or individuals,” the commission wrote in a summary.

[Recently in RW: “FCC Grants iHeart Petition on GMEI Foreign Investment”]

The commission noted that SBS only seeks approval for foreign investors to hold up to 49.99% of the company’s total equity interests; it does not seek special approval with respect to its voting interests.

Raúl Alarcón is the only person or entity that would hold a 5% or greater voting interest, with an approximately 80% voting interest and 34% equity interest in SBS. “The remainder of SBS’s stock would be held by various domestic and foreign investors,” the FCC wrote.

The petition doesn’t seek advance approval for any individual or entity. SBS told the FCC that the request raises no national security, trade policy or law enforcement concerns “and will further the commission’s goal of encouraging foreign investment in the broadcast industry.”

The commission accepted its petition for review and will take public comment. Per its past practice it also will check with relevant executive branch agencies for any concerns related to foreign ownership of SBS.

Comments can be filed on the FCC website and are due March 14, 2022. They should reference MB Docket No. 22-61.