We already knew this, since Cumulus Media had recently signed a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreeing to divest three stations, but Cumulus and Citadel Broadcasting have now announced that they’ve gotten official notice of early termination of the merger waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR).
In an example of typical government red tape, the official HSR early termination notification comes from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rather than the DOJ. The FTC and DOJ share responsibility for antitrust analysis of large corporate mergers and most in the media sector are handled by DOJ, as was the Cumulus-Citadel merger. But DOJ had to let FTC know that the deal had been approved and then FTC had to issue the notification to Cumulus and Citadel.
Still to be heard from is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which must approve the radio license transfers before the $2.5 billion deal can close. The list of stations that the parties must divest (by first putting them into a trust) to comply with the FCC’s local ownership rules is longer than the DOJ list, but those 14 spin-offs were known long ago.
Citadel shareholders vote Thursday (9/15) on whether to approve the cash/stock merger which will fold Citadel into Cumulus. If the FCC approval is granted by then the official closing could come before Thursday is over.
RBR-TVBR observation: It always makes us feel good to know that our tax dollars are being well spent by the Department of Redundancy Department.