Middle Easterners Ready to Pounce on U.S. Media
For one, Federal Communications Commission rules put a 20% ownership limit on foreign buyers of U.S. broadcast media.
Blumberg says he is conscious and observant of such rules and said the planned media fund would aim to integrate regulated and less-regulated types of media without tripping over any regulations.
News Corp. (NWS) CEO Rupert Murdoch, an Australian by birth, got around the foreign-ownership rule by becoming an American citizen in the late 1980s, when he purchased several U.S. television stations.
"It will be like creating a private media company," says Blumberg, emphasizing the importance of making his investment properties work together. He adds that he will consider any type of media as fair game for investment, public or private. The investment vehicle will be structured as an open-ended investment fund.The fund's creation also comes amid a freshly heated debate in Washington and around the country about whether the FCC should allow more consolidation of media in the U.S. Next week, the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote on a bill that could stop the FCC from loosening cross-ownership between broadcast and newspaper media outlets. Perhaps the most significant challenge to deep-pocketed foreign buyers is that the media business is not a growth business. Media outlets mostly have been floundering as the U.S. economy embarks on a slowdown, which typically dampens its advertising revenues.
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