Originally published: September 8, 2011
Last updated: September 8, 2011 - 9:00pm
The Department of Justice announced that it will require Cumulus Media, one of the largest operators of radio stations in the United States, to divest three radio stations in two markets in order for Cumulus to proceed with its acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting.
The department said that the transaction, as originally proposed, would substantially lessen competition for radio advertising in Flint (MI) and Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle (PA). The department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington (DC) to block the proposed acquisition. At the same time, the division filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit and the department’s competitive concerns.
According to the complaint, Cumulus’s and Citadel’s radio stations compete head-to-head against one another for the business of local and national companies that seek to purchase radio advertising time that targets listeners in Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle and Flint. Cumulus’s acquisition of Citadel would have eliminated the competition in these markets, increasing prices and reducing levels of service in the sale of radio advertising time. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Cumulus must divest two stations in Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle and one station in Flint to buyers approved by the division. The divestitures will reduce Cumulus’s share in advertising revenues in Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle and Flint to less than 40 percent, preserving choices for advertisers and ensuring competition.
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