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FCC Clarifies Policy for Foreign Investment in Broadcast Licensees

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Released: November 14, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



November 14, 2013
Janice Wise (202) 418-8165


Washington, D.C.

– The Federal Communications Commission today clarified its policies and
procedures for reviewing transactions in the broadcasting industry that would result in foreign ownership
stakes exceeding a 25 percent benchmark set by statute.
Sought by a broad and diverse range of parties -- including broadcasters, the public interest sector, and
investors -- the ruling potentially removes obstacles to new capital investment, which will support small
business, minority, and female broadcast ownership, and spur innovation. The clarification does not alter
the FCC’s obligation to protect the public interest, including national security, localism and media
diversity, in case-by-case reviews of each transaction.
Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934 limits foreign ownership of U.S.-organized entities
that control broadcast licensees to 25 percent when the Commission finds the limitation is in the public
interest. In the past, some have viewed this benchmark as a bar to foreign investment in broadcast
licensees that would exceed the benchmark, rather than as a trigger for the Commission to exercise its
discretion. The ruling clarifies the Commission’s intent to review applications and petitions for
declaratory rulings proposing such ownership on a case-by-case basis.
The Declaratory Ruling adopted by the FCC today additionally specifies the filing procedures for
applicants and petitioners seeking approval for foreign ownership above the 25 percent benchmark. It
also affirms that applicants and petitioners must provide detailed information sufficient for the
Commission to make the public interest finding required by Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications
Act. The controlling parent companies of licensees may not exceed the statutory benchmark without prior
Commission approval.
The Commission will continue to work with Executive Branch agencies on issues related to national
security, law enforcement, foreign policy, and trade policy in reviewing proposals for broadcast foreign
Action by the Commission November 14, 2013, by Declaratory Ruling (FCC 13-150). Chairman
Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly with Chairman Wheeler,
Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.
For additional information, contact Jamila Bess Johnson at (202) 418-2608 or Jamila- Press inquiries should be directed to Janice Wise (202) 418-8165 or

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