On February 13, 2008, the DOJ entered into a settlement agreement with Clear Channel, the largest operator of radio stations in the United States, to divest radio stations in four cities in order for a group of private equity investors led by Bain Capital (“Bain”) and Thomas H. Lee Partners (“THL”) to proceed with their acquisition of a controlling interest in Clear Channel. The divestitures were required to assure continued competition in markets where the transaction would otherwise result in a significant loss of competition.
The buyers actually negotiated the settlement agreement with the Antitrust Division without a second request investigation. The buyers held off from filing its Hart Scott Rodino form to notify the transaction for almost a year until they worked out numerous agreements with the FCC, which also had to approve the license transfers. Accordingly, this settlement agreement demonstrates how the Antitrust Division and buyers can work out a settlement agreement without the issuance of a second request.