While much attention and speculation focused on the satellite radio situation this week, that “other” big pending merger in radio moved ahead Thursday.
Ninety-seven percent was the estimated count of shares that were voted “yes” in favor of a private equity deal that has been in the works for almost two years, one that will merge Clear Channel Communications with a group led by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
The companies plan to consummate their “marriage” next Wednesday. The corporation formed by the equity group to acquire the company is called CC Media Holdings; its stock will be quoted on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol CCMOV.
The agreement is based on a revised agreement reached in May after banking backers had suffered cold feet based on eroding financial conditions. Clear Channel shareholders will get $36 in cash for each of their shares. Shareholders also had the chance to choose instead to exchange shares for shares in CC Media. Clear Channel shareholders chose to swap about 23 million shares of stock for CC Media shares.
Reuters quoted Chief Executive Mark Mays saying the deal will be good for radio consumers. “From a listener perspective, I don’t think they will see anything radical or different. This is really a capital structure change rather than a programming change.”
He also said rumors that the company’s international assets are for sale are untrue. “We went through a process, we divested of our television and some radio stations, and now we have what we feel is the core assets that we want to operate the company going forward,” Reuters quoted Mays saying; he added that he feels traditional media companies are “truly undervalued.”
Here’s another consequence: When your company goes private, you aren’t on the common financial indices anymore. The Associated Press reported that DaVita Inc., which provides dialysis services, will replace Clear Channel in the S&P 500, and Qualcomm Inc., which offers wireless broadband technology, will replace Clear Channel in the S&P 100.