The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership in the United States: A Public Interest Perspective

Matthew Crain


This article examines the logic, scope, and implications of the influx of private equity takeovers in the United States media sector in the last decade. The strategies and aims of private equity firms are explained in the context of the financial landscape that has allowed them to flourish; their aggressive expansion into media ownership is outlined in detail. Particular attention is paid to the public interest concerns raised by private equity media ownership relating to the frenzied nature of the buyout market, profit maximization strategies, and the heavy debt burdens imposed on acquired firms. The article concludes with discussion of the challenges posed by private equity to effective media regulation and comparison of private equity and corporate media ownership models.

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