Today, Common Cause, along with The NewsGuild-CWA and Public Knowledge filed a Motion for Additional Information and Extension of Time with the Federal Communications Commission. The Motion asks the FCC to require the applicants in Standard General Inc. and Apollo Global Management’s acquisition of Tegna to provide additional information and documents necessary for the agency to determine whether the transaction is in the public interest.
The Motion highlights concerns that the transaction would enlarge two private equity firms – Standard General and Apollo – who have already swallowed smaller broadcast groups – leading to greater consolidation in the marketplace. The groups note that additional information is necessary given the complex nature of the transaction, the potential for price hikes that will be passed down to consumers, and the potential for more reporter layoffs and consolidated newsrooms.
Statement of Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media & Democracy Program Director
“This merger represents another attempt by private equity to take over America’s newsrooms. History has shown how private equity firms have diminished the quality of local journalism by implementing cost cutting strategies that lead to reporter layoffs and consolidated newsrooms. Rather than investing in local journalism from the cost cutting profits they squeeze out, private equity uses revenue streams to pay off loans and manage debt. These predatory practices leave impacted communities without robust sources of local news and ultimately undermines their ability to participate in our democracy.
“The applicants’ initial filing raises more questions than answers. We have little to no information as to what public interest benefits this deal would offer, let alone how Standard and Apollo would mitigate many of the potential harms if this deal were approved. This deal invites serious skepticism, making it all the more important the FCC requires the applicants to provide additional information showing how the transaction would actually serve the public interest. Viewers and journalists across the country deserve answers.”
To view the full motion, click here.