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Radio News: FCC makes up a new way to approve mergers

Oct 31, 2017 10:50 pm

David Shepardson at Reuters reports that the Federal Communications Commission approved a deal for telecommunications provider CenturyLink Inc to buy Level 3 Communications Inc on Oct. 30. That does not seem too controversial, as both Republicans and Democrats on the FCC approved the $24 billion merger that will allow the company to compete with AT&T and Verizon. What may be more important was that, "the FCC outlined a new standard by which the agency will review future mergers -- a shift that could make it easier for other large media and telecommunications mergers to win approval," according to Reuters. Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel voted for the merger, but vigorously disagreed with the new way the FCC approved the deal. "I believe the Commission's review has a serious flaw," she said in a statement. "Instead of using the agency's decades-old merger review standard, it arbitrarily introduces a new one. This departure from the traditional merger balancing test should properly be the subject of public notice and comment. Our failure to do so is at odds with the most basic principles of administrative law. Moreover, I worry that our capricious disregard for precedent is simply part of a larger effort to speed the way for the next billion-dollar transaction before us." The FCC is expected to allow the Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media this month, and let the conservative-leaning broadcast group to exceed the current limits on number of stations owned by one company.
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