DOJ to Radio: Drop Dead

I knew it.

John Malone wasn’t asking the DOJ for pre-approval permission for his Liberty Media to take a potentially controlling stake in iHeart  – he knew it all along.

Wednesday the DOJ made it official by green-lighting up to 50% ownership of iHeart for Liberty even before Malone made his move – a highly unusual tactic when most deals get monopoly scrutiny after they are announced.

And this is a big deal – bigger than the radio industry even knows as they exist in a world of denial that has gotten them into a real mess.

An interloper with a lot of money who has been putting together a media company by buying distressed companies for huge discounts (like SiriusXM and Pandora) is getting away with the heist of the century – his monopoly is buying iHeart’s monopoly.

We’ll get to the business sense of this for Malone in time.

The real issue is that starting with the DOJ ruling every other radio company is now Malone’s bitch in ways that he will force them into desperate mergers or reduce them to insignificance.

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