Univision union assailed

Merger plan draws fire due to new entity's market power

WASHINGTON — Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) voiced opposition Tuesday to the merger of Univision Communications and Hispanic Broadcasting, arguing that it would hand Univision unacceptable market power in the U.S.’ Spanish-lingo media.

Menendez made a special appearance at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to denounce the $2.4 billion deal.

“Under the tenets of this merger, virtually all Latinos would see and hear their news and entertainment from a single source: Univision,” he said. “Perhaps not coincidentally, that single source would be owned by a non-Hispanic.”

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to OK the merger and is in the final days of its decision-making process. Earlier this year, the Justice Dept. conditionally greenlit it as long as Univision sold a significant portion of Entravision Communication, the third-largest Latin radio chain in the country.

Menendez renewed his pitch that the FCC should treat the Hispanic market separately from the English-speaking one when it comes to concentration issues.

He also said the 16-station Spanish Broadcasting System, Univision’s only competitor in radio, and Telemundo in TV would find it difficult to compete. Telemundo controls 15% of the Spanish-lingo TV market; Univision controls 80%.

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