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Gray-Gazette Station Deal Gets Antitrust OK

Gray Television said this week it would close its deal to buy KCRG-TV for $100 million by fourth-quarter 2015 "following receipt of FCC and other approvals." It already has one of those, a clean bill of competitive health from the Justice Department.

Gray announced Tuesday that it had closed on its purchase of the station's nonlicense assets, which means the deal had been in the works for some time, enough time to submit it to the relevant agencies.

At $100 million, the deal was large enough to need a Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review from either the Federal Trade Commission or Justice. They don't say which has done it, but TV station deals are almost always by DOJ.

The FTC this week signaled that the Gray-Gazette deal had gotten early termination of its review, which means the government found was no reason to block it or seek conditions on antitrust grounds

The FCC must still give its thumbs up or down based on a broader public interest standard, but they usually coordinate their reviews so that is a good sign for a thumbs up from the FCC.