FCC approves Telemundo takeover

Sony-led deal expected to seal this month

MIAMI — The Sony-led acquisition of No. 2 Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo at last got an FCC greenlight Friday, eight months after the deal was announced.

The new owner is Telemundo Holdings Inc., comprised of SPE, Liberty Media, Apollo Investment Fund III and Bastion Capital, which is paying around $539 million for the ratings-challenged web.

Telemundo shareholders approved the buyout June 16, but the deal is not due to close until the buyers secure certain financing, which they are expected to do this month.

Telemundo, which reaches 85% of Hispanic homes across 61 U.S. markets, has a primetime broadcast share of 18%, versus 82% for traditional market leader Univision.

Approval was delayed somewhat by Univision protests to the FCC over Sony’s degree of control (foreigners are limited to 25% ownership of TV stations) and over TV-cable cross-ownership limits pertaining to Liberty Media.

Attention now turns to the web’s leadership, with former CBS entertainment prez Peter Tortorici slated to take over the network (Daily Variety, June 26).

Already, Sony’s influence over the web was felt at Telemundo’s June 16 New York upfront, which trailered formats culled from the Sony library, including “Angeles,” a Latin update of “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Reyes y Reyes,” a police series based on “Starsky & Hutch.”

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