Clear Channel Buyout Update

The wheels are well in motion to take Clear Channel private. Shareholders will vote on the deal March 21. They’re being offered $37.60 for each share of stock they own, which is about a dollar and small change more than it’s currently trading for, and near the 52-week high, though just 41% of what CCU stock was worth back in its heyday, 1999.
Clear Channel’s executives are obviously urging all shareholders to approve the buyout (they call it a “merger”), as it represents the best option to “maximize shareholder value” given “extensive review of available strategic alternatives, taking into careful account the continued challenges in the broadcasting sector and…recent growth in the domestic outdoor [advertising] business, as well as future growth opportunities.”
Clear Channel has already begun transferring the FCC licenses of its radio and TV stations to a private holding company (BT Triple Crown Merger Co., Inc.) controlled by its pending private-equity owners. The deadline for bids on the hundreds of stations slated for divestiture just passed; it hopes to complete all sales by June, though there is at least one complaint pending at the FCC to stop the license-transfer side of the deal, not to mention some shareholder resistance and possible legal wrinkles to deal with.
Keep in mind that Clear Channel is just the latest in a string of private-equity acquisitions in the media industry more generally, a trend that definitely calls for closer, more systemic scrutiny.