Randy’s gettin’ back in.
Emmis Communications has agreed to sell a majority stake in two Chicago radio stations and one in New York to new company Merlin Media, controlled by radio veteran Randy Michaels and private equity firm GTCR.
The stations involved are Chicago FMs WLUP and WKQX and New York’s WRXP(FM). Pending regulatory approval, the value of the deal is between $110 and $130 million, according to an SEC filing.
Emmis will retain an equity interest in the three stations. “We believe this transaction will create significant value for our shareholders,” stated Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan. “As a minority holder in Merlin Media, we look forward to continuing to provide innovative programming to our audiences in Chicago and New York.”
Merlin Media named Chicago radio veteran John Gehron chairman of the advisory board overseeing WLUP and WKQX.
“I was lucky enough to recruit John to run the Chicago cluster during my time at Clear Channel and I am thrilled to be working with him again now,” stated Michaels in a press release.
Industry observers have been speculating about Michaels’ return to radio since he resigned as CEO of Tribune Co. last fall, according to various media observers such as the New York Times.