Cumulus Media, looking to reduce its debt load further, is looking at possibly selling some or all of its 250+ tower sites that are spread around 32 states.
President/CEO Mary Berner made the announcement on a conference call reporting annual financial results Friday. “We are considering strategic alternatives regarding our tower portfolio,” she said.
CFO John Abbot said Cumulus is the last major U.S. radio group that owns such a large collection of sticks. “Given the dynamics in the tower market where multiples are well in excess of multiples in our industry, we may be able to take advantage of a sale/leaseback opportunity that could be beneficial to us.” He emphasized that these discussions are in an early stage.
Berner said the company is also “working on ways to monetize some land we own in Nashville.” Cumulus has multiple locations in that city and is looking at possible consolidation there.
Berner expressed pride in the company’s 2019 results, including growth in its digital business and “active cost management across our platforms.”
The reduction of “leverage” is an important theme for the Cumulus leaders. Abbot said debt was reduced by more than $220 million in 2019 and by more than $275 million since emergence from bankruptcy. “The company has paid down debt that equates to over $13 per share.”
Berner said, “We are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage.”