Clear Chan­nel board backs new of­fer

Los Angeles Times - - Business -

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.

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