Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DOJ Approves Clear Channel Deal

From Reuters:

Reuters U.S. Company News
5:22 p.m. 02/13/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust authorities said on Wednesday they had conditionally approved the proposed buyout of U.S. radio operator Clear Channel Communications Inc (CCU) by two private equity firms.

The Justice Department said it would not oppose the acquisition of San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel by private equity firms Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, as long as Clear Channel divested radio stations in four U.S. cities. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

From Dow Jones News Service:

Dow Jones Real-Time News for InvestorsSM
5:29 p.m. 02/13/2008

By Corey Boles and Shira Ovide

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday it would require radio station company Clear Channel Communications Inc. (CCU) to sell stations in four cities in order to win approval for its sale to two private-equity houses.

In a statement, the Department of Justice's antitrust division said it would approve the deal taking the nation's largest owner of radio stations private once the divestitures were complete.

Clear Channel is being bought by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, two private-equity firms, in a complicated $19.5 billion transaction.

The Department of Justice approval is the last regulatory hurdle to the Clear Channel sale being concluded. It earlier won conditional approval from the Federal Communications Commission, again with the obligation to sell some stations first.

The four markets where the Department of Justice said Clear Channel must sell stations are Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

"Without the divestitures obtained by the department, advertisers that rely on radio advertising in the affected cities likely would have faced higher prices," said Thomas O. Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the department's antitrust division. "The divestitures will ensure that advertisers will continue to receive the benefits of competition."

No Static At All

Remember the movie "FM"? Released in 1978, it wasn't what one would call a blockbuster; but for those of us who loved Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, and radio we were thrilled.

IMDB provides the plot line:
Q-SKY is the #1 radio station in Los Angeles mainly because of the music they play, and running the station the way they want to. It has led them to a ratings success. The interesting radio personalities include: Jeff Dugan, rebellious head of the radio station; Mother, who is burned out from being a DJ; Eric Swan, a self centered romantic who wants more than just being a DJ; The Prince of Darkness, the hip night DJ; and Laura Coe, the easy-going type. The movie focuses on the battle between Jeff and his corporate bosses, who want more advertising and less music.
A lot has changed and then again not much at all.