Report: CC TV Sale Finally A Done Deal
March 14, 2008 at 4:12 PM (PT)
Sources tell DOW JONES NEWSWIRES that an agreement has been reached for the sale of CLEAR CHANNEL's TV stations to PROVIDENCE EQUITY PARTNERS. The final agreement is in the neighborhood of $1.1 billion, which is about $200 million less than the terms of APRIL's original agreement.
The agreement puts to bed a rather contentious transaction between the radio giant, PROVIDENCE and the main bank investor WACHOVIA. Over the course of 2007, CLEAR CHANNEL had sued PROVIDENCE, which turned around and blamed WACHOVIA, which in turn filed a lawsuit of its own.
In a memo to the CLEAR CHANNEL staff, MARK MAYS wrote:
"We announced today that we have completed the sale of our Television Group to NEWPORT TELEVISION, L.L.C . We would like to thank each of the folks in the TV Group for their ongoing commitment and outstanding service to their stations, audiences, and communities.
Separately, the larger transaction remains on track to close by the end of the first quarter."
Now that the TV is done, CLEAR CHANNEL can focus on closing a bigger deal to be taken over by private-equity investors. CLEAR CHANNEL has said it expects to close its $19.5 billion sale to THOMAS H. LEE PARTNERS and BAIN CAPITAL by the end of the month -- once the TV deal is done.
That buyout has been under a shadow of doubt that it will be completed, and anxieties weren't helped this week when a THOMAS H. LEE executive sounded vague about a closing date. Asked in an interview WEDNESDAY whether the CLEAR CHANNEL buyout would close this quarter, THL PARTNERS Co-President SCOTT SPERLING said, "We'll see." He said the firm wouldn't comment on whether the deal will close.
Adding more uncertainty to the radio group closing was BEAR STEARN's liquidity meltdown FRIDAY morning, which according to several reports, was the main reason CLEAR CHANNEL shares initially fell as much as 16%. CCU recovered and the stock closed on FRIDAY (3/14) at 34.23, off 0.76 (2.17%) according to YAHOO.
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