Wall Street smiled last week on the long-awaited news that the Justice Department had cleared the $23.5 billion merger of radio giants AMFM Inc. and Clear Channel Communications Inc. San Antonio-based Clear Channel's stock price rose more than 7% last Thursday to close at nearly $76 per share. There were no surprises in Justice's stipulations; Clear Channel has been working on the department's antitrust concerns for months and in March announced plans to sell 112 stations for about $4.3 billion. However, in its news release on Thursday, Justice did not address its concerns about AMFM's 30% interest in outdoor-advertising firm Lamar Advertising (B & C, July 17). That will await the filing of a consent decree "later," Justice said. The department did order eight stations put into trust; Clear Channel had already named buyers for them, including four in Harrisburg, Pa., slated for Cumulus Media Inc. "[Justice attorneys] may still have issues with the buyers," Clear Channel spokesman Randy Palmer said. Closing of the deal is expected on FCC approval, which is required within 60 days but is expected any day.
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