The July 14 deadline for the routine review of the Clear Channel/SFX merger by the European commission has passed with no formal indication of a determination, extension or a full probe.
Part of the European Union, the European commission's review assays mergers and takeovers and joint ventures. The Clear Channel/SFX deal, announced Feb. 29, is a $4.4 billion stock swap between Clear Channel Communications and SFX Entertainment.
As reported earlier, the commission had "a calendar month after a deal has been filed to clear it or start a detailed, four-month probe." The Clear Channel/SFX review filing was made June 13. The commission can "extend its initial review by two weeks if it has identified competition problems and companies submit undertakings. Referral requests by EU national governments, usually in defense, utilities and media sectors, also trigger an initial two-week extension. The clock is re-started on incomplete filings when they are completed."
Other media or entertainment-based reviews were scheduled before the EU commission during the same period including America Online and Time Warner and the proposed Time Warner/EMI Group joint venture which triggered a full probe by the commission on June 14.
After an aggressive acquisitions campaign in sports and entertainment, SFX Entertainment has sought to establish an early lead in marketing “live experiential” events. SFX develops and manages touring Broadway shows, and sells Broadway subscription series and individual productions in 55 markets. An integrated franchise that promotes and produces a broad variety of live entertainment events locally, regionally and nationally, SFX has 122 venues overall, and owns or operates venues in 31 of the top 50 domestic markets. Once Clear Channel finalizes two outstanding deals—its $14 billion deal to purchase radio broadcaster AMFM and the subsequent $4.4 stock swap deal for SFX—the company will operate a total of 874 radio and 19 television stations in the United States and will have equity interests in over 240 radio stations around the world. In its other significant business, Clear Channel operates more than 700,000 outdoor advertising displays,including billboards, street furniture and transit panels.
-- By Murdoch McBride