$20 Billion LBO of Clear Channel Delayed

By Jennifer Yousfi
Managing Editor

Late last week (Wednesday), Clear Channel Communications Inc. (CCU) released a statement that the firm had extended the date of the pending merger agreement shareholders had approved in late September.  The leveraged buyout (LBO) deal with CC Media Holdings, valued at $39.20 per share, will take the now publicly traded Clear Channel private, but is unlikely the deal will receive regulatory approval before year-end.

The "agreement providing for the acquisition of Clear Channel by CC Media Holdings, Inc., a corporation formed by private equity funds sponsored by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, extended to June 12, 2008, the date on which a party may terminate the merger agreement if the merger has not occurred as of that date," the Dec. 12 statement read.

The San Antonio, Texas-based media giant is the largest U.S. radio station with 1,200 full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations, an additional twelve channels on XM Satellite Radio, and more than 30 television stations. According the corporate website, Clear Channel accounts for 9% of all domestic radio airplay.

Clear Channel also owns Premiere Radio Networks, Inc., the most popular radio syndication network in the United States. Premiere is home to many conservative hosts including Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Glenn Beck, and others.

And what has the blogging community abuzz is the history behind one of the buyout partners, Bain Capital.  Bain was founded by none other than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  While Romney no longer holds a position on the board, it is believed by many sources that he still has close financial ties with the company.  If the merger goes through as planned, Romney will find himself part-owner of the largest U.S. syndication network - a powerful tool for a campaigning politician.

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