In a decision of interest to other broadcast owners, the FCC cleared the way on Tuesday for Televisa, a Mexican media conglomerate, to own a larger stake of U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision (the Declaratory Ruling may be read here). The two companies jointly filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling requesting that the agency permit foreign ownership of Univision above the FCC’s 25 percent benchmark. Specifically, the ruling allows foreign investors to own up to 49 percent of Univision’s equity and 49 percent of its voting interests, including up to 40 percent of its equity and voting interest to be held by Televisa and its affiliates.
The ruling fits the Commission’s trend over the last few years of loosening its policy on foreign ownership of broadcast entities (you can read about that trend here, here, here, and here). In this case, the Commission found that granting the companies’ application serves the public interest because it will open the door to sources of capital not otherwise available for Univision and encourage reciprocity from foreign governments. The Commission also determined that granting the application “will further Univision’s service to the Hispanic community and other minority communities and advance its empowerment initiatives.” In addition, the companies’ petition was unopposed, and no parties requested conditions be placed on the grant.
With changes to the FCC imminent from a new presidential administration, FHH will continue to closely monitor the Commission’s policies on alien ownership.