Clear Channel Communications Inc., the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, said Wednesday that Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. have completed their $17.9 billion buyout of the company.
The buyers valued the transaction at $24 billion, including debt, Clear Channel said. The closing of the sale comes almost two years after San Antonio-based Clear Channel first agreed to be purchased by the private-equity firms. Clear Channel owns seven radio stations in Utah: FM stations KODJ (94.1), KZHT (97.1), KJMY (99.5), KXRV (105.7) and KOSY (106.7), and AM stations KNRS (570) and KALL (700).
Bain and THL cut the buyout price to $36 a share in May from $39.20 to win the financing needed to complete the purchase. The buyers and Clear Channel settled a legal fight in that month with banks including Citigroup Inc. that had refused to finance the deal at the higher, $19.5 billion price.
The banks, including Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley, had claimed they would lose billions of dollars on the loans because of the credit crunch and the U.S. economic slowdown.
Investors representing 74 percent of shares outstanding approved the purchase last week. Clear Channel shares stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange at market's close Wednesday.
The two Boston-based private-equity firms sued the banks in New York in March, seeking a court order forcing them to finance the deal. Clear Channel and CC Media Holdings Inc., a shell company created for the buyout, also sued in Texas state court, seeking more than $26 billion in damages.
The takeover comes amid more competition for listeners from satellite radio, the Internet and digital music players. The time spent listening to all forms of radio over the past decade declined 16 percent, according to Arbitron Inc., a media research company.
Clear Channel said this month it will use two years of audience data to retool its advertising sales, making more time slots available during peak listening times and less when the audience is smaller.
The company put itself up for sale in October 2006 after asset sales and share buybacks failed to boost the stock price.
Bain and THL agreed a month later to buy the company for about $19 billion. The buyout firms raised their offer to $19.5 billion in May 2007 to win over shareholders opposed to the deal.