| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, MAY 28, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
WASHINGTON, D.C. The Department of Justice today approved Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s acquisition of five radio stations in New Orleans from Heritage Media Corp. and Phase II Broadcasting Inc. after Sinclair agreed to sell three radio stations to Centennial Broadcasting LLC.
Sinclair's acquisitions from Dallas-based Heritage and New Orleans-based Phase II would have given Sinclair control of nine radio stations in New Orleans, accounting for about 55 percent of market revenues. By selling three stations to Centennial before completing its deals with Phase II and Heritage, Sinclair resolves the competitive concerns of the Department's Antitrust Division.
According to industry estimates, the divestitures will reduce Sinclair's revenue share in New Orleans to under 40 percent.
"Sinclair was aware that its acquisitions in New Orleans raised competitive concerns and came to us before we began our investigation," said Joel I. Klein, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division. "Sinclair offered to fix the competitive problems, and made a serious proposal right off the bat--that's the kind of cooperation we welcome."
Before the Heritage and Phase II transactions, Sinclair owned four stations in New Orleans--WLMG-FM, KMEZ-FM, WWL-AM and WSMB-AM. Sinclair was to acquire WLTS-FM and WTKL-FM from Phase II and WEZB-FM, WRNO-FM and WBYU-AM from Heritage. The acquisitions would have given Sinclair nine stations in New Orleans, one more than the eight permitted by the Telecommunications Act.
Sinclair has agreed to sell WRNO-FM, WBYU-AM and KMEZ-FM to Centennial. The sale to Centennial must be completed before Sinclair may complete its acquisition from Heritage.
After the transactions are completed, Sinclair will own or operate 50 radio stations in 12 cities in the United States. Its total revenues in 1997, including television, were approximately $516 million.
Centennial is a new company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.