Australia competition regulator allows Southern Cross bid for Austereo

MELBOURNE, March 17 Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:25pm EDT

MELBOURNE, March 17 (Reuters) - Australia's competition watchdog cleared broadcaster Southern Cross Media's A$741 million ($725 million) offer for radio group Austereo on Thursday, the first of three media deals under scrutiny.

The takeover would give the merged group radio coverage in major cities and regional areas, improving access to advertisers.

"The ACCC found that due to the presence of existing competitors, the proposed acquisition would not be likely to substantially lessen competition in any other markets where Southern Cross and Austereo operate," the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.

These include advertising markets across other regions of Australia and the supply and acquisition of radio broadcasting content," the ACCC added.

The offer is due to close on April 6. ($1 = 0.978 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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