Ownership Questions Could Dog Clear Channel Buyout

from the own-too-much dept

Following the news yesterday that a number of private-equity firms are planning to buy Clear Channel for $19 billion, some questions are being raised about how FCC limits on media ownership will come into play. The loosening of these limits allowed Clear Channel to become the behemoth it is today, and the company has continued to fight for even less restrictions. However, some of the firms participating in the buyout already have other media holdings, and depending on how the FCC interprets their ownership role, the limits could cause them some problems. It seems likely that the firms will be able to convince the FCC that they’ll remain largely hands-off the companies, because there’s little to indicate they want to align their media holdings into one company, or have them work closely together. However, as IP Democracy points out, the real issue could be these firms’ holdings in content suppliers — with two of them part of the group that owns the Warner Music record label. Given the FCC’s interest in payola, this could cause some problems. Again, it seems unlikely that the firms would really link the two businesses, but the relationship could arrange some appearance of impropriety.

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