Green Light For News Corp’s Chris-Craft Buy

The Justice Department cleared News Corp.’s proposed acquisition of television-station operator Chris-Craft Industries Inc., pending the sale of a Chris-Craft station in Utah.

News Corp. (NWS) and Chris-Craft (CCN) have agreed to sell KTVX-TV, a Salt Lake City ABC affiliate, to resolve antitrust concerns surrounding the companies’ $5.3 billion proposed pact, the department said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

Australia’s News Corp. owns Fox affiliate KSTU-TV in the Salt Lake City market, and without the sale of the ABC affiliate, the combined company would have owned two of the top four broadcast television stations in the market. The company would have had about 40% of the broadcast television spot advertising revenue, which could have resulted in ?higher prices for local or spot television advertising,? the Justice Department said

The transaction, expected to close June 30, is still subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission and Chris-Craft shareholders, who are scheduled to vote on the deal April 24.

Last month, News Corp. received a favorable private ruling from the Internal Revenue Service on March 21. That ruling saves News Corp. about an extra $300 million it would have had to pay if the IRS had not ruled the acquisition a tax-free transaction.

Under terms of the deal, announced Aug. 14, 2000, Chris-Craft shareholders are expected to receive $34 in cash and 1.1591 of News Corp.’s preferred American depositary shares for each Chris-Craft common share held, subject to adjustment.

If the transaction closes after Aug. 13, the Chris-Craft merger consideration will be increased by $1.

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.