In another party line vote, the FCC’s Republican majority has approved the merger of Univision Communications and Hispanic Broadcasting, allowing the creation of the first Spanish-language media conglomerate in the United States.
The action will create a $3 billion Spanish-language giant with television and radio stations as well as cable, Internet and music groups. The FCC’s majority ruled that the merger is in the public interest as long as the combined company takes whatever steps are necessary to come into compliance with the agency’s controversial new media ownership rules.
The merged company, the commission ruled, would own too many radio stations in two cities. But that decision was based on new regulations that have yet to take effect and are under a stay order by a federal court. As a condition of the approval, the FCC ordered that the combined company must sell its excess radio stations within six months after the court stay is lifted or when the new rules go into effect.
The deal will combine Univision’s 32 television stations, its Galavision cable network and TeleFutura—a 16-station group that Univision operates—with Hispanic Broadcasting’s 68 radio stations.