Clear Channel is the world’s largest radio station company. They own over 1,200 radio stations in America. According to today’s edition of Inside Radio the enormous financing deal for the sale of the company (involving multiple banks and financial institutions) has finally been completed:
Clear Channel: Have cash, will close.
Bain Capital and THL Partners have placed their portion of the funding for the $17.9 billion Clear Channel buyout into an escrow account. The banks deposited their cash last week. Clear Channel’s Mark Mays says the financing is “ready to deploy” as soon as shareholders approve the buyout.
Clear Channel is also one of the biggest outdoor advertising companies in the world. The company had previously sold their tv stations and gotten out of live events.
The company started in 1972 with a single radio station in San Antonio. By 1995 they had grown to 43 radio stations (mostly in Texas.) That’s when the Clinton administration passed The Telecommunications Act of 1996.
This act deregulated media ownership, allowing a company to own more radio stations in every market. Previously the amount of stations a company could have in any single market was severely restricted by the FCC. Clear Channel went on a buying spree, purchasing more than 70 other media companies, plus individual stations.
The company loaded its board with close personal friends of both Republicans (Tom Hicks was one of George W. Bush’s biggest donors and a friend of the Bush family) and Democrats (Vernon Jordan was a longtime Clinton advisor.)
The sale of Clear Channel was first announced in November of 2006. However, because of FCC red tape and the recent credit market crunch, the sale has taken a year-and-a-half to finalize. Apparently the deal is now final pending stockholder and FCC approval.