$19B Buyout of Clear Channel Nearly Dead

Credit woes have sale of radio giant to private firms crumbling
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 25, 2008 7:30 PM CDT
Motorists on Interstate 35 pass by a digital billboard, installed by radio and billboard giant Clear Channel, which changes images every eight seconds in this Feb. 12, 2007 file photo.    (AP Photo/Jim Mone, file)
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(Newser) – A $19 billion bid to privatize Clear Channel appears likely to fall through as buyers and financiers bicker—with credit-crunch-induced liquidity woes a major stumbling block, the Wall Street Journal reports. A credit agreement between private equity firms and the banks funding the move has become shaky. “No one wants to do this deal except for the seller,” said a source.

The sale was arranged in 2006, when access to credit, and prospects for the largest US radio broadcaster, were better. Selling to Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital for $39.20 a share seemed fitting, but now Clear Channel’s shares are closer to $32. The company’s “viability” isn’t the issue, says an expert: “It's purely the problems inherent in the debt world today.”