CLEAR CHANNEL SUED FOR ANTITRUST VIOLATIONS

Spanish Broadcasting Alleges Radio Company Hindered Competition

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Radio operator Spanish Broadcasting System sued rival Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. and its largest shareholder, Clear Channel Communications, for antitrust violations.

The allegation comes as Spanish-language TV giant Univision today agreed to buy Hispanic Broadcasting for $3.5 billion in stock.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges radio giant Clear Channel and Hispanic Broadcasting hindered Spanish Broadcasting's ability to compete in the marketplace by interfering with its ability to raise capital or make station acquisitions as well as depressing its share price and reputation.

Hispanic radio leader
Spanish Broadcasting

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is the leading Hispanic-owned radio company in the U.S., owning and operating 25 radio stations in eight of the top 10 Hispanic markets.

The suit cites numerous actions that allegedly violate federal and state antitrust laws. Specific allegations include: attempting to keep Spanish Broadcasting from acquiring stations by starting bidding wars; inducing Katz Hispanic Media to breach its national sales-rep contract with Spanish Broadcasting; and attempting to derail Spanish Broadcasting's initial public offering in 1999 by asking lead underwriters to withdraw, among others.

"These charges are false and we will, as we always do with frivolous lawsuits, fight vehemently to defind our position, and we have every expectation of winning on all counts," Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays said in a statement.

Univision acquisition
Univision's agreement to buy Hispanic Broadcasting, the largest Spanish-language radio company, which owns and operates 55 radio stations in 13 of the top 15 Hispanic markets, creates an Hispanic media behemoth, adding Hispanic Broadcasting's properties to Univisions' TV network, cable network and TV stations.

Clear Channel, which owns more than 1,200 radio stations in the U.S., maintains a 7% ownership in the newly merged company, according to the Clear Channel statement.

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