×

Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Ask FCC to Restrict Gannett’s Deal for Belo

The American Cable Assn., Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are objecting to a part of Gannett’s proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of Belo Corp.’s broadcast stations, saying that the deal threatens to drive up retransmission fees and risk even more station blackouts in negotiation standoffs.

Their objections were raised in a filing with the FCC, which is considering the transfer of five Belo stations in St. Louis, Phoenix and Tucson markets to Sander Operating Co. and Tucker Operating Co. The ACA, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV say that such a transfer is a means to rely on “a series of shills or ‘third-party sidecars” and get around rules limiting ownership of stations in the same market.

They contend that although the transaction calls for Gannett to divest Belo’s TV assets in the three markets, “Gannett will retain effective control of all of these stations through various sharing agreements under which it will establish duopolies in each” city. They contend that Gannett’s agreements with Sander and Tucker will result in “collusive negotiations” of retransmission agreements in St. Louis, Phoenix and Tucson. As an example, they said that under an agreement that Gannett “intends to execute” with Sander and Tucker in the Tucson market, Gannett would be the agent for them for restrans or other distribution agreements.

ACA, Times Warner Cable and DirecTV are asking the FCC to either deny the transfer of licenses, or impose conditions to restrict the coordination of negotiation of retrans deals.

The stations at issue are KMOV-TV in St. Louis, KTVK-TV and KASW-TV in Phoenix and KMSB-TV and KTTU-TV in Tucson.

Gannett’s deal for Belo will nearly double its broadcast holdings from 23 stations to 43, with stations in 21 of the top 25 markets.

Update: In a statement, a spokesman for Gannett said, “The transaction is entirely consistent will all FCC rules, policies and precedent, and will bring substantial benefits to the public.”

More Biz

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Hit With New Charges Alleging Sexual Abuse Against a Minor

    R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago, alleging that he sexually abused a minor female for four years, beginning in 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune. The superseding indictment, which was made public Friday, alleged Kelly sexually abused a girl who was identified as “Minor 6.” Kelly is already in prison [...]

  • ViacomCBS

    Third Point Adds Stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon

    Investor Dan Loeb has added small stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon to the portfolio of his Third Point LLC investment firm during the final months of 2019. Third Point disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday its ownership of shares in the newly merged Redstone empire and the high-flying e-commerce behemoth. Loeb [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Denies Accusation That It Is Downplaying Damage in 2008 Archive Fire

    The day after Universal Music Group revealed that it is planning an IPO within three years, an attorney for four artists who have claimed to have lost recordings in a 2008 fire that destroyed thousands of assets in the company’s archives has accused UMG of “gamesmanship” and downplaying and refusing to reveal the extent of [...]

  • Eric Braeden celebrates his 40th Anniversary

    TV Iron Man Eric Braeden Marks 40 Years on 'Young and the Restless'

    If not for a tennis game with actor Dabney Coleman in the late 1970s, Eric Braeden might never have landed his signature role as conniving business mogul Victor Newman on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.” Braeden, 78, has become an Iron Man of daytime soaps who will mark his 40th anniversary on “Y&R” with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content