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Charlotte Shakeup: Beasley Will Sell Four to Entercom

Three of them are currently Greater Media stations

Entercom Communications will buy four radio stations in Charlotte that are being divested by Beasley Broadcast Group. Three of those are currently Greater Media stations.

We knew that Beasley likely would have to spin off Charlotte assets in order for its planned acquisition of Greater Media to meet FCC market ownership rules. Now the company has an agreement to sell two FM and two AM stations for $24 million cash to Entercom, contingent on Beasley completing the Greater Media deal, which it expects to do this year.

Entercom will get three stations currently owned by Greater Media: WBT(FM), WBT(AM) and WLNK(FM), and will begin operating them under a time brokerage agreement. It will also acquire WFNZ(AM) and an FM translator, currently owned by Beasley.

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill is Nielsen-ranked market No. 24, with a metro 12+ population of 2.3 million.

“The planned divestiture of the four Charlotte stations reflects Beasley’s previously stated intention to divest certain radio stations in order to comply with FCC ownership regulations,” Beasley announced. It plans to use proceeds to reduce the debt necessary to complete its Greater Media buy.

Beasley plans to acquire the outstanding stock of Greater Media for about $240 million, as announced this summer. Greater Media shareholders are expected to receive $100 million in cash and $25 million in shares of Beasley stock valued at $4.61 per share, as well as proceeds from the sale of its tower assets, valued at $20 million; and Beasley will repay $82 million of Greater Media debt.

The Charlotte deal is subject to FCC and other regulatory approvals. Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was broker in the transaction.

Wells Fargo financial analyst Marci Ryvicker noted that the deal includes the radio broadcast homes of the NFL Carolina Panthers (WBT) and NBA Charlotte Hornets (WFNZ).

“No multiple was provided,” she wrote. “However, given the stations’ location in Charlotte (between Entercom clusters in Greensboro and Greenville) there are likely to be significant synergies for common/shared facilities and staff.”

This will bring Entercom’s holdings to 128 stations in 28 markets. Ryvicker noted that Entercom separately announced the intent to refinance certain debt. She called that package “a nice debt refinancing.”