DOJ greenlights Cumulus takeover of Citadel with divestitures

The Department of Justice will approve Cumulus Media's $2.4 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting Corp., providing the firm divests three radio stations in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The merger of two of the three largest radio broadcasting firms in the country can only proceed once Cumulus sells one station in Flint and two in the Harrisburg area. The Federal Communications Commission must also approve the deal.

“The divestitures required by the consent decree will enable radio advertisers to continue to receive the benefits of competition in Harrisburg and Flint,” said Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

The Justice Department argued that without the divestitures the merger would have eliminated competition in the two markets, increasing prices and reducing levels of service. Radio broadcasters have been consolidating in recent years as consumers increasingly turn to satellite radio and the Web.