Entercom Communications Corp., the Pennsylvania-based radio broadcasting company, said Thursday that it has received Federal Communications Commission approval to complete its proposed merger with CBS Radio, apparently clearing the way for Bonneville International Corp. to take over programming at four Sacramento radio stations currently owned by CBS.
The proposed merger is the byproduct of CBS Corp.’s previously announced exchange offer for the separation of its radio business as part of the agreement to combine CBS Radio and Entercom, which is scheduled to expire at 8:59 p.m. on Nov. 16, unless the exchange offer is extended or terminated.
In February, Entercom announced an agreement to combine with CBS Radio in an all-stock transaction expected to be tax-free to CBS and its shareholders. Entercom says the merger would give it 235 stations nationwide.
However, as part of an announced Nov. 1 settlement between the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division and Entercom, the broadcasting firm agreed to divest itself of more than a dozen radio stations in Massachusetts and California, including the four Sacramento stations.
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Under the deal, Salt Lake City-based Bonneville will take over programming of local stations KYMX-FM (Mix 96), KZZO-FM (Now 100.5), KNCI-FM (Country 105.1) and KHTK-AM (Sports 1140).
The Justice Department maintained that the divestitures preserves competition among local businesses that advertise on radio stations in Sacramento, San Francisco and Boston, thus complying with antitrust rules.
The transfer of local programming is pending finalization of the proposed merger.