Clear Channel to Sell Off TV Station Group

Caps Week of Moves That Included Ad-Inventory Deal With Google

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's been a busy week for Clear Channel.
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays

At the top of the week, the media conglomerate announced its plans to have Google sell 5% of ad inventory for 675 of its stations, a deal months in the making. As the ink dried on the Google partnership, the company continued its attempts to divest 448 radio stations in 88 markets, having already entered into definitive agreements to sell 161 stations in 34 markets, amounting to a total consideration of about $331 million. Since the divestiture is still being explored, there was no guarantee that any of the stations would be divested individually.

Buyout terms settled
Then on Wednesday, the company settled on the terms for its buyout by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners, which was first transacted back in November. The company agreed to a $19.4 billion takeover bid from the Lee/Bain firms, which would assume $7.7 billion in debt from Clear Channel and raise its bid from $37.60 a share to $39.

Finally, Clear Channel today added another sale to the mix, this time agreeing to sell its TV stations group to Providence Equity Partners for $1.2 billion. The deal was especially sweet for Providence, which lost the radio bid to the Lee/Bain group last fall.

Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays in a statement said, "The stations and management of Clear Channel Television have established an outstanding record of achievement, innovation and community service in broadcasting and web development. While we will miss the important role they have played in the Clear Channel family, we are excited that they will be partnered with Providence Equity to continue to pursue growth opportunities in the rapidly changing media environment."

Stations being sold
Included in the TV bundle are 10 CW stations, eight Fox, seven NBC, six ABC, six CBS, four My Network TV, two NBC Weather Plus, two Telemundo, five independents and six stations affiliated with Clear Channel's Variety Television Network, comprising markets that include Salt Like City, San Antonio and several cities in upstate New York.

"These are well run, quality television stations," Sandy DiPasquale, president-CEO of BlueStone Television, said in a statement announcing the sale. "I look forward to continuing my partnership with Providence Equity and working with the talented CCTV employees to build on their success integrating broadcast and internet services to serve their communities."
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