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FCC to Consider Looser Reviews on Foreign Broadcast Ownership

The Federal Communications Commission set a Nov. 14 vote on relaxing reviews on foreign ownership of broadcast stations, a move backers say will increase investment in the sector.

The agency at its monthly meeting is to consider the loosening sought by companies including CBS Corp., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., and the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, according to an e-mail distributed today by the FCC.

Broadcasters and minority groups in August asked the agency to make clear that it would consider ownership applications with foreign stakes above a 25 percent benchmark. Without a change, the marketplace would assume such deals would be disallowed, the group said in its letter.

The change will make clear the agency intends to conduct case-by-case review of proposed transactions that exceed the benchmark, Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in an e-mail.

The FCC’s proposal “clears the way for increased access to capital and potential new investors for the broadcast sector,” Clyburn said.

Granting the request “would help inject vital investment capital into the broadcast industry,” the National Association of Broadcasters, a Washington-based trade group, said in a filing.

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