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BLACKSTAR DEAL TESTS FCC

Blackstar L.L.C., the minority-controlled D.C.-based firm formed last year with the help of a $20 million cash infusion from Fox Broadcasting, is buying three Nebraska ABC affiliates from Fant Broadcasting.

The proposed acquisition on file at the Federal Communications Commission says Blackstar will pay about $13 million for the three stations – KHGI Kearney, KSNB Superior and KWNB Hayes Center.

Pending FCC approval of the acquisition, Blackstar intends to turn the stations into Fox affiliates.

The proposed acquisition could be a test of the FCC’s attribution rules, which are designed to prevent outside investors – whether individuals or companies – from dictating management decisions of the broadcaster’s presumed majority investors. The FCC is wrestling with possible changes in attribution limits.

The issue in the Blackstar case involves whether the FCC deems the company to be a corporation or a limited partnership. If the agency decides Blackstar is a limited partnership, Fox’s ownership would be considered “attributable” and thus count against the number of stations Fox may own nationally.

Also, Blackstar is said to be looking at ABC affiliate KSFY in Sioux Falls, S.D., which is owned by Atlanta-based operator Ellis Communications.

Blackstar L.L. C., formed in October, is run by John Oxendine, an African-American businessman whose other company – Blackstar Communications – owns Home Shopping Network affils in Melbourne, Fla., Ann Arbor, Mich, and Salem, Ore. Oxendine intends to make Blackstar Communications a subsidiary of Blackstar L.L.C. Other investors in Blackstar L.L.C. include Fox and Silver King Communications.

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