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24 Apr, 2024 20:02

Soros denounced over media acquisition plans

Billionaire financier has bought $400 million of debt owed by radio platform Audacy, which was going through a bankruptcy process
Soros denounced over media acquisition plans

A US Congressman has accused billionaire George Soros of trying to fast-track his acquisition of American radio giant Audacy through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Fox News has reported.

Soros has bought a major stake in what is the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 radio stations across the country, according to previous media reports.

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas wrote in a letter seen by Fox that he was concerned that the Soros groups are asking the FCC to approve a change in ownership in Audacy without the commission “running its normal, statutorily required process.” 

“This transaction, which affects radio stations that reach millions of listeners across the US, including in Texas’ 21st congressional district, should – at minimum – be subject to rigorous FCC oversight to ensure US radio stations are not subject to undue influence,” the congressman argued.

Soros’ investment firm has become the largest shareholder in Audacy, after purchasing around $400 million of debt owed by the media group during its bankruptcy process. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month, with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead, the billionaire financier would reportedly part-own broadcasters in 45 US states.

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations, including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS.

Congressman Roy pointed out in his letter that, instead of going through the usual petition for declaratory ruling process, the Soros group has asked the FCC to waive that process and “put it off until sometime down the road — indicating that those foreign stakeholders will be given ‘special warrants’ in the meantime.”

The Texas lawmaker also told Fox News Digital that he’d heard from constituents who “reached out and raised issues and concerns about the extent to which it’s very clear that Soros is, you know, making a move in the radio world.”

A hedge-fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, George Soros is among the wealthiest men on Earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations.