A final merge lane for Univision-HBC

Hispanic institute asks court to overturn FCC decision

WASHINGTON — The Univision-HBC merger is not yet a done deal.

The federal courts will have the final say on the $3.5 billion merger that created the nation’s largest Spanish media company.

The National Hispanic Policy Institute, an original opponent of the deal, claims the FCC violated its own rules and the Communications Act when it greenlit the merger. The group Wednesday asked a D.C. federal appeals court to overturn the FCC decision on these grounds.

The Hispanic org is particularly concerned about Univision’s attributable interest in TV stations owned by a third company, Entravision, but not in that company’s radio stations, and believes the FCC should have forced Univision to sell off several HBC radio stations to comply with limits on local radio ownership.

“It was an error for the FCC to conclude that Univision will not be able to significantly influence Entravision’s radio operations,” attorney Arthur Belendiuk wrote in the Notice of Appeal. “To compete with Univision in the radio business, Entravision would have to risk its relationship with Univision, a risk it cannot afford to take.”

Univision brushed aside the group’s arguments as sour grapes.

“Given NHPI’s prior scorched earth approach to those regulatory proceedings, where it had every opportunity to make its arguments, the filing (of the appeal) is hardly surprising, although disappointing,” it said.

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