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What is the FCC's role in a proposed merger?

State and federal agencies are involved in many different phases of the evolution of a Nevada business. Governments have a hand in everything from the genesis of a start-up to mergers and acquisitions of established businesses. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission's approval is required for sales and purchases of companies licensed by the agency.

The FCC regulates laws and companies within the communications industry, like television, radio stations and cable and satellite providers. Each company must obtain an FCC license, which is nontransferable during a business sale or acquisition without the agency's permission. Businesses must have the FCC's approval for a proposed license transfer or assignment.

The agency's concern is whether the authorization of a sale, merger or acquisition is in the best interests of the general public. The FCC invites the public to comment on license applications under consideration. At the same time, the agency may ask for additional information from the parties involved and others before making a decision, a review process that lasts approximately 180 days.

Businesses involved in these transactions must be compliant with the Communications Act and FCC standards. Among other points, government reviewers consider how the transaction could harm or benefit the public and influence industry competitiveness. Applications may be denied, approved as is, approved conditionally or forwarded to an administrative law judge for further review.

Some applications require consideration by the entire Federal Communications Commission, while others simply require the approval of the head of a government bureau. Merger applications may face additional scrutiny by the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission to make sure antitrust laws are not violated. Applicants are compelled to produce convincing evidence approval would be to the public's benefit in cases that end up before an administrative law judge.

Attorneys understand and can assist Nevada companies with intricate government processes for simple and complex business transactions.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, "Frequently Asked Questions About Transactions," accessed July 01, 2015

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