Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is facing months of delays in its possible bid to buy The Los Angeles Times due to the resignation last week of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
A bid from Murdoch for the nation’s fourth largest paper would require a change in media-ownership rules.
Genachowski had a proposal to ease the regulations, The New York Times reported
, but now with his departure from the Federal Communications Commission due within weeks, a vote to secure the necessary waiver could be delayed for months.
The regulations currently ban consolidation between television stations and newspapers in local markets, and Murdoch already owns a Fox television station in L.A.
News Corp. has long argued that television stations and newspapers should be able to share resources, and believes the cross-ownership rules established in 1975 were created at a time when the media environment was dramatically different.
“There can be little debate today that the newspaper industry faces existential threats,” said Maureen O’Connell, News Corp.’s senior vice president for regulatory and government affairs, in a December letter to FCC officials. “We urged the FCC to eliminate the cross ownership rule as a relic from a bygone era.
“In an era of profound distress for the newspaper industry, the commission should embrace the ways in which television stations and newspapers can share resources and realize economic efficiencies.”
But the resignation of Genachowski, a Democrat, came after months of voting delays, and Murdoch himself has suggested that a waiver may be difficult in the current political environment.
“It won’t get through with the Democratic administration in place,” Murdoch told a Los Angeles Times reporter when asked in January whether he wanted to buy the paper.
Any plan by Murdoch to buy the Times also faces competition from the billionaire Koch brothers who are interested in purchasing the entire Tribune group, which includes The Los Angeles Times as well as The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, and a host of smaller papers.
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