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Chancellor's Purchase of Whiteco OKd

November 26, 1998| Times Wire Services

Chancellor Media Corp. received government clearance for its $930-million purchase of Whiteco Industries Inc., the nation's largest privately held billboard company, after agreeing to sell off outdoor advertising assets in four states. Chancellor, through its Martin Media unit, and Whiteco are head-to-head competitors in the business of selling outdoor advertising such as billboard space to business consumers. The Justice Department's antitrust division had argued the combined company would have had the entire market share in outdoor advertising in one county and shares of 48% to 88% in six other counties in the states of Connecticut, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas. "Without this divestiture, local and small businesses for which outdoor advertising is an essential form of media communication would have paid higher prices for advertising," said Assistant Atty. Gen. Joel I. Klein. Whiteco, based in Merriville, Ind., operates in 32 states and had $6.9 million in revenue last year. When combined, Chancellor's Martin Media and Whiteco would have 35,000 billboards in 37 states and would rank among the top five U.S. outdoor advertising companies. The deal is expected to close this year. Chancellor shares closed up 19 cents at $38.75 on Nasdaq.

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