Co's To Sell 99 Radio Stations

Friday, July 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — Clearing the way to create the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, Clear Channel Communications Inc. and AMFM Inc. will sell 99 radio stations in 27 markets to satisfy antitrust concerns raised by their impending merger, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Without the divestiture, the merger would have led to a loss of head-to-head competition and increased prices for radio advertising, the department said.

The estimated value of selling the 99 stations is $3.4 billion.

The merged company will own or operate 898 stations.

Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, and AMFM, which has headquarters in Dallas, will sell the majority of the radio stations in the divestiture plan before the merger takes place.

The department says it will file a complaint in federal court seeking resolution of competitive issues and will later file a proposed consent decree to resolve the issues.

Clear Channel reported net TV and radio revenues of $1.4 billion last year, while those of AMFM were $1.7 billion.

``These divestitures will ensure that radio listeners and businesses that purchase radio advertising will continue to obtain the benefits of competition — lower prices and better service,'' said Donna Patterson, deputy assistant attorney general of the antitrust division.

The consent decree also will address concerns about Clear Channel's purchase of AMFM's portion of Lamar Advertising Co.