The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cleared the sale of NBC Universal's WTVJ Miami to Post-Newsweek, which already owns ABC affiliate WPLG-TV there.
That is according to an "early termination" notice released by the FTC Monday.
That leaves the sale in the hands of the FCC, whose approval is still pending, according to a commission spokesperson.
The deal, which was announced in July, was required to be submitted for Justice and FTC approval per a Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review, for which there is a set waiting period before the transaction can proceed. But the parties can request that the waiting period be terminated early.
The FTC's granting of that request signals that neither it nor Justice plans to take any antitrust enforcement action against the sale.
The unusual combination of two major-market affiliates is possible because of the large Spanish-speaking population in South Florida. An FCC rule allows a station to buy another station in the same market if "at least one of the stations in the combination is not ranked among the top four stations in terms of audience share," which in most markets, if not all of them, would prohibit a major affiliated station from buying another one. But WTVJ is not among the top four due to the presence of Spanish-speaking Univision and Telemundo outlets, the latter which is also an /NBC-owned station.
After the sale, NBCU will still own Telemundo outlet WSCV.