FCC's Martin 'Not Concerned' About Private Equity Takeovers
September 6, 2007 at 6:57 AM (PT)
The FCC is not concerned about the recent spate of private equity takeovers of media companies, Chairman KEVIN MARTIN said in a letter made public WEDNESDAY, reports CNNMONEY. Responding to lawmakers on the House Commerce Committee, MARTIN said it is "too early to identify all of the issues that this investment vehicle might raise."
He added, "It is not clear yet that ownership and control by private equity firms create any different or unique issues from ownership by public corporations or sole proprietors."
The letter, dated AUGUST 31st, was released by Rep. EDWARD MARKEY, D-MA, the Chairman of the House Telecommunications subcommittee. The Democratic lawmakers asked MARTIN a series of questions about the involvement of private equity in media ownership.
MARTIN's response pointed to the ongoing review of the FCC's media ownership rules, but stated that there were no specific concerns about private equity ownership. As in most sectors of the economy, takeovers of media and telecommunications companies by private equity funds have escalated in recent months.
The largest deal yet was the $12.3 billion sale in MARCH of Spanish-language television broadcaster UNIVISION to a group of private equity houses.
Other pending deals are the acquisition of CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS INC. by BAIN CAPITAL and THOMAS H. LEE EQUITY, and a move by a private equity arm of MERRILL LYNCH & CO. to snap up radio chain CUMULUS MEDIA.