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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

wheeling and dealing in the media industry south of the line

In today's media news ...

1. Spanish language network acquired by financial consortium ...

Univision Communications Inc. and a group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group, today announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which the group will acquire Univision ... This transaction presents a unique opportunity to contribute to and participate in the continuing growth of the clear leader in Spanish-language media and to further the company’s commitment to serving the Hispanic community. ...”

2. Convergence in satellite ahead?

Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin said yesterday that Sirius would be interested in buying XM Satellite Radio at the right price, though regulatory issues "would be a question mark" ... [and] he also would consider it if it were in the shareholders' best interest. ... Karmazin was speaking at a conference on media convergence at the Museum of Television & Radio.

3. Fox guarding the hen-house?

The Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday [Jun 21, 2006] to begin a review of its rules on media ownership... The [appeal] court said the commission used an improper procedure for changing the rules [in 2003], and ordered the commission to revisit the matter. ... In April, [FCC chairman Kevin] Martin had sought support from newspaper publishers to help the agency lift the ban on single ownership of a newspaper and broadcasting outlet in the same city. Previous heads of the FCC have sought to get the cross-ownership ban lifted. ... [In 2004] the federal appellate court ... acknowledg[ed] that the agency was right to remove the blanket prohibition on newspapers owning broadcast outlets ... Media companies that own both newspapers and broadcasting outlets have long pressed for a removal of the ban... Consumer groups have opposed relaxing the ownership rules.

4. Some celebrities get the shaft (so to speak) ...

Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours yesterday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription. ... Investigators confiscated the Viagra and Limbaugh was released without being charged.

5. Others get money for nothing ...

Barbara Walters has signed a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio for Sirius to air a weekly two-hour series, starting next year, that will replay many of the interviews Walters has conducted since joining ABC in 1976.

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