The FCC this week released a Public Notice soliciting comments on the request of Univision, which owns US radio and TV stations, to have foreign ownership that exceeds 50%. As we wrote here, the FCC previously permitted foreign ownership of up to 49% of the company. With a restructuring of its investors, the company is now seeking permission for foreign investors to own up to 70% of the company. As we have written here and here, the FCC will permit foreign investors to own a interests above 25% in companies that control licensees of US broadcast stations. But any such ownership first must be reviewed by the FCC and other government agencies to insure that there are not national security issues. Once approved, in the absence of any extraordinary circumstances, the FCC will allow an approved foreign investor to acquire interests in more stations in the US, and to increase their interest in a company to the extent provided that, if they have not been previously approved in a controlling position, they will need specific approval for such ownership. Here, as the foreign investors had previously been approved in a non-controlling position, further Commission approval of the ownership of more than a 50% interest in the company was required.
While substantial foreign investment in US broadcasting companies is not commonplace, more and more transactions have been approved in recent years (see, for instance, our articles here and here) as the FCC appears to have become comfortable to the notion that investors from many foreign countries pose no threat to the public interest.