Clear Channel Communications, the broadcast company and billboard advertiser that owns SFX Entertainment, will have to wait awhile before it can scratch at least one thing off its holiday wish list: the Mexican radio interests run by Televisa.
Mexican antitrust regulators, a group whose very title seems to symbolize something of a contradiction, unanimously voted against Clear Channel owned Grupo Acir’s bid to merge its radio interests with those of Grupo Televisa. That merger would have created one of Mexico’s “largest radio broadcasters” according to the Wall Street Journal.
In short, Clear Channel is already a vast broadcast enterprise in both the United States and Mexico. The fact that Mexican authorities are slowing further mergers gives some indication of the incredible power that would redound upon Clear Channel if the Televisa deal goes through.
In and of itself, Televisa (radio) is about as close a thing as Mexico has to a Clear Channel. It is Televisa’s separate and even more dominant profile in television that concerns Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission, which feared that a post-merger Televisa could muscle advertisers and corner the market, forcing competitors into bankruptcy.
This is not the first time this year that Televisa’s attempts to sell its radio interests have been nixed by Mexican feds. Televisa plans to appeal the commission’s ruling and hopes to pursue the merger with Clear Channel. The value of Televisa’s 50.1 percent interest in the radio merger was estimated at $263 million. As reported earlier, SFX was acquired by Clear Channel on Aug. 1, 2000. Clear Channel has also purchased radio broadcaster AMFM. The company now operates 1,096 radio and 19 television stations in the United States and has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. Clear Channel also operates more than 750,000 outdoor advertising displays, including billboards, street furniture and transit panels across the world.
After an aggressive acquisitions campaign in sports and entertainment, SFX Entertainment established 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.
— By Murdoch McBride