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Gannett Deal for Belo Gets Regulatory Clearance From FCC

The Federal Communications Commission approved Gannett Co.’s purchase of Belo Corp., giving final U.S. regulatory clearance for the $1.5 billion media deal.

Gannett, which owns 23 TV stations, agreed in June to purchase Dallas-based Belo including its 20 stations.

The deal would make Gannett the fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates, reaching about one-third of U.S. households, according to the company.

The FCC’s approval came in an order released today by e-mail. An earlier Justice Department settlement requires the companies to sell KMOV-TV in St. Louis to preserve competition in a market where Gannett and Belo overlap.

Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, also owns 82 U.S. daily newspapers, including USA Today.

Adding TV stations gives Gannett leverage in negotiating licensing fees for cable and satellite companies to use its signals.

The Belo deal continues a streak of consolidation in the local-TV market and underscores a push by newspaper companies to decrease their reliance on print media. The FCC today separately approved Tribune Co.’s agreement to buy Local TV Holdings LLC’s 19 stations for $2.73 billion.

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