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HBC-Univision Deal Is a Go

HBC-Univision Deal Is a Go

Voting along party lines, the FCC has approved the merger of radio group Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. and television company Univision.
The agency did find that the combined company would exceed local ownership limits under the new radio market definitions in two markets, using the new rules that have been blocked by a federal appeals court.
So the FCC approved the deal on the condition that Univision/HBC spin off its radio stations in those markets within six months of the court lifting the stay, or when the new radio market definition becomes effective.
HBC and its subsidiaries own or control 68 radio licenses (18 AM and 50 FM) and six FM translator licenses. Univision owns or controls 32 TV licenses.
The commissioners approved the merger 3-2. Chairman Michael Powell and his fellow Republican Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin said the deal serves the public interest by giving Hispanic media a better opportunity to compete against big media companies for advertising revenue.
The decision “wisely rejects the call to separate Hispanics into a separate class for government review purposes. The implications of treating Hispanics as an insular group removed from the general mainstream of news, entertainment an information are troubling,” their statement read.
Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein dissented, saying competitors to HBC and Univision see the merged entity as dominating the Hispanic language media market and freezing out competitors.
“Today’s decree from the FCC is: ‘Let them eat English.’ Learn English if you want the choices others in this country have,” Adelstein stated.
Univision has an attributable interest in Entravision, which owns and controls 18 TV and 52 radio stations. The Department of Justice reviewed its portion of the proposed merger earlier, and the FCC said it would approve the deal if Univision converted its Entravision interest into non-attributable, non-voting stock before the deal closes.
Post-merger, Clear Channel will have a small stake in Univision; that stake will be reduced in the deal, according to the commission.