Clear Channel board backs new offer
san antonio — The board of Clear Channel Communications Inc. accepted a sweetened offer Friday from private equity firms trying to buy the radio and billboard company.
The offer of $39.20 a share is similar to one the board rejected two weeks ago. Last week, the board postponed its scheduled vote on the earlier $39-a-share offer at the urging of some shareholders.
The new offer by the equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners is valued at about $19.45 billion, plus the assumption of about $8 billion in debt.
Shareholders will be able to take either cash or shares in the private equity company. At least two-thirds must vote in favor of the deal for it to close, an unusually high threshold that is required under Texas law.
The offer is one in a series since November.
Several large shareholders had insisted that the company was worth more than earlier offers and planned to vote against the buyout.
It was not immediately clear Friday whether the Clear Channel holdouts — including the largest shareholder, Fidelity Management & Research Co. — would support the new offer, but a source familiar with the position of Highfields Capital Management, Clear Channel’s thirdlargest shareholder at about 5%, said the fund probably would support the new offer.
Shares of San Antonio-based Clear Channel rose 44 cents Friday to $38.23.
Clear Channel is the nation’s largest radio station operator, and it owns 90% of the world’s largest billboard business, with 973,000 signs.