For Businessman Wheeler, The Bucks Stop Here

FCC hopeful must divest boatload of media holdings to get post 6/03/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

The life of an entrepreneur and a venture
capitalist in the tech and communications sector differs
significantly from that of Federal Communications
Commission chief. And if FCC chair nominee Tom Wheeler
plans to swap the former life for the latter, he’ll have to do a
significant amount of divesting in order to
be confirmed. This is according to a letter
to FCC general counsel Sean Lev outlining
Wheeler’s planned divestitures and ethics
pledge. The document was made available
by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Wheeler is barred from buying or holding
as FCC chairman a financial interest in
any company that has a “significant” interest
in matters subject to FCC regulation,
which would include virtually all communications
and lots of tech companies.

According to his letter, Wheeler will resign
from Core Capital Partners, the venture
capital firm where he is currently partner
and managing director. He will not take any severance or bonus
other than outstanding salary for services rendered before he
gets the FCC job—which is subject to Senate confirmation. He
will also divest his interest in his holdings in two Core funds.*

Wheeler will resign as chairman of SmartBrief, the e-newsletter
company whose clients include the National Association of
Broadcasters, CTAM and the American Advertising Federation.
While he will not divest the stock, Wheeler said he will not
participate in any matter that has a “direct or predictable effect”
on the financial interests of SmartBrief. The same can’t be said
for SmartBrief, which will certainly be aggregating and curating
the news Wheeler makes at the FCC for its newsletters.

Wheeler has already resigned from the board of Transaction
Network Services, a communications platform provider, and
says he will exit the board and sell his stock in Earthlink.

Wheeler itemized the companies whose stock he will be divesting,
and the list includes a Who’s Who of cable and telecom
companies. Wheeler is a former head of the NCTA and CTIA:
The Wireless Association—whose fortunes
he will now be regulating.

The list of companies: Akamai, Amazon,
AMC Networks, Alliant Energy,
American Electric Power, Apple, AT&T,
Atlantic Wireless/Aloha Partners, BCE,
Boeing, Broadcom, Brocade Communications,
Cablevision Systems, CBS, CenturyLink,
China Mobile, China Telecom,
Cisco, Citrix, Clearwire, Columbia Capital
Funds II and III, Comcast, Deutsche
Telekom, DirecTV, Dish Network, eBay,
EMC, Ericsson, Expedia, Flextronics,
France Telecom, Frontier Communications,
Gannett, General Electric, Google,
Great American Broadband, Grupo Televisa, Harris Corp.,
Hewlett-Packard, Hutchison Whampoa, IBM, Idacorp, Ignition
Partners, Intel, Interdigital, Juniper Networks, L-3 Communications,
Liberty Interactive, Liberty Media, Medtronic, Motorola
Solutions, NetApp, NetScout Systems, News Corp., Oracle,
Portugal Telecom, Priceline, Qualcomm, RF Micro, Rockwell,
Scripps Networks, Singapore Telecom, Sprint Nextel, TE Connectivity,
Telefonica, Telenor, Texas Instruments, Time Warner,
Time Warner Cable, Trimble Navigation, United Continental
Holdings, Verizon, Vodaphone, Walt Disney and Windstream.

(*Wheeler said he will not weigh in on a matter that has a direct or
predictable impact on any of the companies before it’s divested, unless
he gets a waiver or exemption, but he will divest them in any event.

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