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US: FCC said to revamp ownership rules before Sinclair Deal

 |  October 15, 2017

According to a report by Bloomberg Friday, October 13, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai told an opponent of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed purchase of Tribune Media that the agency may review media ownership rules before ruling on the US$3.9 billion deal, something that could delay a decision on the merger.

“Ajit Pai told me in my meeting that he has not decided to approve the merger first, that he may conduct a review of the ownership cap,” Christopher Ruddy, chief executive officer of Newsmax Media said in an interview Friday. “I can confirm to you on the record that he told me that he had not decided and that he was open to doing the review first. And I encouraged him to do it.”

According to the CFO of Newsmax, Pai made his statement in a September 27 meeting. Ruddy said the merger would allow too much media concentration that could crowd out independent voices. Newsmax offers a TV channel that appears on cable systems and online.

The review of the complex ownership rules could take months states Bloomberg. And thus delaying the deal that as proposed in May would create a broadcast company exceeding current ownership limits, with 233 stations offering service to more than 70% of US viewers.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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