More than a year and a half after Clear Channel first announced plans to go private in November 2006, CCU shareholders have formally approved the company's $17.9 Billion sale to private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.
Bloomberg News says the deal will be complete by July 30. Radio and Records notes that CCU used to own about 1200 radio stations, but the company sold about 300 stations, especially in markets ranked below 100 (as defined by Arbitron) in preparation for the privitization deal. Even after shedding those markets, Clear Channel remains the largest radio operator in the United States.
Clear Channel owns seven stations in the Syracuse market. The company also owned nine stations in Utica-Rome, which were sold to Galaxy Communications last fall. To comply with FCC ownership limits, Galaxy subsequently spun off some stations. Clear Channel also sold its entire television division this spring, including WSYR-TV in Syracuse and WWTI in Watertown.
A Clear Channel press release says CCU stockholders will be entitled to $36 per share of their stock, or they can choose to receive stock in the new company:
As an alternative to receiving the $36.00 per share cash consideration, Clear Channel's shareholders were offered the opportunity on a purely voluntary basis to exchange some or all of their shares of Clear Channel common stock on a one-for-one basis for shares of Class A common stock of CC Media Holdings, Inc., the new corporation formed by the private equity group to acquire Clear Channel (subject to aggregate and individual caps).
Bloomberg reports Clear Channel founder Lowry Mays and sons Mark and Randall will all retain top-level management positions in the new company. No word yet on whether the new company will impact staffing in local markets like Syracuse, but if you hear anything, be sure to let us know at cnyradio (at) cnyradio (dot) com.