The Federal Communications Commission approved Friday Gannett's proposed acquisition of competitor Belo, clearing all regulatory hurdles for the McLean, Va.-based company to boost its TV business in pursuit of lucrative broadcast advertising and fees from cable companies.
Gannett is WBIR-TV's parent company.
The FCC's approval arrives less than a week after the two companies reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to sell the assets of a local station in St. Louis, KMOV-TV, that is owned by Belo, a development that portended federal regulators' willingness to sign off on the deal.
Once the acquisition is completed, which is expected next week, Gannett's broadcast portfolio will increase from 23 TV stations to 42, making it the fourth-largest owner of network TV affiliates in households reached.
In June, Gannett, which also owns USA TODAY and 81 other newspapers, agreed to buy all outstanding shares of Dallas-based Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or about $1.5 billion, and assume $715 million in existing debt.
Shares of Gannett rose 1.6% in early afternoon trading to $27.92.