Over the years, we have received a number of questions regarding the ability of Canadians to invest in upstate broadcast stations. The FCC’s rules generally establish a 25% limit on foreign investment. However, the FCC will allow foreign investment to exceed this amount under certain circumstances.
In a recent case, the FCC approved the sale of a NY broadcast station to a Delaware company that is 100% controlled by a Canadian corporation. In issuing a Declaratory Ruling, the FCC stated:
“The Petition asks the Commission to exercise its discretion to permit foreign ownership in 123 Corp., the proposed controlling U.S. parent of Licensee, to exceed the 25% benchmarks established in section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), and sections 1.5000 et seq. of the Commission’s rules. As discussed below, the Petition seeks authority for up to 100% aggregate foreign investment (voting and equity) in 123 Corp., the proposed controlling U.S. parent, and specific approval for certain foreign investors to hold more than 5% equity and/or voting interest in 123 Corp. No comments or oppositions were filed in response to the Petition. As discussed below, and consistent with the input received from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on behalf of the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector (Committee), we find that it will serve the public interest to grant the Petition, subject to the conditions specified below.”
While the FCC’s decision in these cases will vary based on the facts of a particular case, the decision demonstrates investment by Canadians in New York stations can be approved in certain circumstances.
The decision is helpful for New York stations looking to attract additional investment.
You can see the FCC’s decision here.