Just in time for an anticipated closing on Friday morning (9/16), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given its approval to the $2.5 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting by Cumulus Media. The deal cleared the final regulatory hurdle just days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division gave its OK. All that remains is the Citadel shareholders’ vote scheduled for Thursday.
The FCC approval order included the long-known list of stations going into trusteeship to comply with the Commission’s local ownership and noted the one additional divestiture required under the DOJ settlement.
No one had filed a petition to deny the license transfers, so the FCC order was pretty clean-cut. It noted comments filed by Free Press regarding the public interest implications and concluded that the divestitures will actually increase competition in some local markets. “We conclude that the applicants are fully qualified and that grant of the Applications and the Trust Applications, subject to the condition set forth herein, will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity,” said the order, signed by William T. Lake, Chief, Media Bureau.
Citadel shareholders are set to vote Thursday on approving. The official closing is set for Friday morning before stock trading begins.
RBR-TVBR observation: That’s why broadcasters have communications lawyers working for them in Washington. You can’t go to the closing table unless all of the regulatory clearances have been obtained – and that’s often something that requires some extra effort as the clock is ticking toward a target date.