MCLEAN, Va. -- On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission approved Gannett Co.'s acquisition of Belo Corp., clearing all regulatory hurdles for the parent company of 11Alive to boost its television business in pursuit of lucrative broadcast advertising and fees from cable companies.
The FCC's approval arrives less than a week after the two companies reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to sell the assets of a local station in St. Louis, KMOV-TV, that is owned by Belo, a development that portended federal regulators' willingness to sign off on the deal.
Once the acquisition is completed, which is expected next week, Gannett's broadcast portfolio will increase from 23 TV stations to 42, making it the largest independent owner of network affiliates in the top 25 markets. With 21 stations in the top 25 markets, it also becomes the largest owner of CBS affiliate stations and expands its already-largest NBC affiliate group.
Gannett announced in June that it planned to acquire Belo in a $2.2 billion deal.
The merger is expected to close next week.